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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Eduard Strasburger   29 July 1872

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

July 29th/72

My dear Sir

I thank you very sincerely for your kind & most courteous letter, & for your present of your work on the Coniferæ &c with its wonderfully elaborate Plates.—1 Nothing in the world is so satisfactory to me as to think that I have guided, in however slight a degree, a naturalist in his work; so that what you say has pleased me much. Your historical sketch (p. 173–223) is a real curiosity, as showing what a number of eminent men have attacked the problem of the nature of the ovules. I shall be curious to see what conclusion you arrive at; but to my ever recurrent & bitter regret I read German with extreme difficulty.2

With my cordial thanks for your kindness & with my respect, I remain | my dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


Strasburger’s letter has not been found, but CD’s copy of Die Coniferen und die Gnetaceen (Strasburger 1872), inscribed by the author, is in the library of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, presumably as a gift from CD.
Strasburger stated that CD’s theory of descent had created new goals in research and offered solutions to difficult morphological problems (Strasburger 1872, 1: iii); his own research aimed at understanding the morphology of the gymnosperm flower. In his historical sketch (ibid., pp. 173–223), Strasburger described about fifty different works dating from about 1810 that considered the form of flowers and fertilisation in gymnosperms.


Strasburger, Eduard. 1872. Die Coniferen und die Gnetaceen: eine morphologische Studie. 2 vols. Jena: Hermann Dabis.


Comments on EAS’s work [? Die Coniferen und die Gnetaceen: eine morphologische Studie (1872)].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Eduard Adolf (Eduard) Strasburger
Sent from
Source of text
Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn, Handschriftenabteilung (NL Strasburger I)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8398,” accessed on 18 February 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20