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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Farrer   [27 November 1869]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.


My dear Mr Farrer

I send the following extract from a letter recd yesterday from F. Müller in S. Brazil, as a caution about Passiflora in contrast with Tacsonia.2

Do not trouble yourself to acknowledge this

Yours very sincerely | Ch Darwin

“In one of your letters you called my attention on perennial Passiflora. I have in consequence planted several species into my garden; only 2 have as yet flowered, & these are self-sterile. In one species the first flowers, which appeared after transplantion, had contabescent anthers.

As to the fertilization of Passiflora, Delpino thinks in his interesting “Ulteriori osservazioni sulla Dicogamia”, which I recd a few days ago) that in the larger species this is effected by humming birds. I had come to the same conclusion by observing how frequently these flowers are visited by humming-birds, while I did not yet see neither humble-bees, nor butterflies, nor any other large insects able to fertilize them.”


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. H. Farrer, 28 November 1869; in 1869, the Saturday preceding 28 November was 27 November.
The extract is from the letter from Fritz Müller, 18 October 1869. Farrer had recently suggested to CD that Tacsonia could be pollinated by hummingbirds or large moths (see letter from T. H. Farrer, 13 October 1869). The genus Tacsonia has since been subsumed into Passiflora.


Encloses extract from a letter from Fritz Müller about humming-birds visiting Passiflora, "as a caution about Passiflora in contrast with Tacsonia".

[Signed with CD’s name by Emma Darwin.]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer
Sent from
Source of text
Linnean Society of London (LS Ms 299/12)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7013,” accessed on 3 December 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17