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Darwin Correspondence Project

From M. T. Masters   4 November 1872

Gardeners’ Chronicle | & Agricultural Gazette Office, | 41, Wellington Street, Strand, W.C.

November 4 1872

My dear Sir/

I am much obliged to you for so kindly forwarding me the abnormal pear wh. is interesting as showing the true morphological nature of the fruit of the Pear—1 The condition is relatively not very uncommon and is sometimes much more marked than that you sent. As I am still collecting morphological memoranda normal or abnormal I am glad to have any opportunity of seeing anything that may at all bear on the subject of my researches. If it be uninstructive the fault is in my obtuseness if it be commonplace it at least gives one a juster idea of the relative frequency of occurrence.

—Referring to the paper you mention of Mr Bert’s I regret very much that I cannot help you.—2 My attention, if I recollect rightly, was drawn to it by the Editor of Pop. Science Review3—and I read the memoir in the Library of the College of Surgeons

I think the Transcs. in question are in the Linnean Soc. Library— if not I shall be pleased to make an abstract in Coll of Surgeons for you if you do not tie me down to time

faithfully yrs. | Maxwell. T. Masters.

What do you think of Dr. Denny’s notion as to the superior transmitting power of the ♂ among plants—4 Wiegmann & others say the reverse—5 I presume it all depends on circumstances


No letter from CD to Masters on this subject has been found. Masters discussed malformations of pears in his Vegetable teratology (Masters 1869).
Masters probably refers to the French physiologist Paul Bert. The paper that CD asked about may have been one on the movements of Mimosa first published in the Mémoires de la Société des sciences physiques et naturelles de Bordeaux and republished in part in Comptes rendus hebdomadaires de l’Academie des sciences de Paris and in full in Journal de l’anatomie et de la physiologie (Bert 1867–72). CD later cited a remark by Bert in this paper, without giving a bibliographic source (Climbing plants 2d ed., p. 180; see Bert 1867–72, p. 551).
The editor of the Popular Science Review was Henry Lawson.
Arend Friedrich Wiegmann argued that hybrids always resembled their parents and generally the mother more than the father (Wiegmann 1828, p. 22).


Bert, Paul. 1867–72. Recherches sur les mouvements de la sensitive (Mimosa pudica, Linn.). Journal de l’anatomie et de la physiologie 4 (1867): 534–52; 8 (1872): 201–33.

Climbing plants 2d ed.: The movements and habits of climbing plants. 2d edition. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Masters, Maxwell Tylden. 1869. Vegetable teratology, an account of the principal deviations from the usual construction of plants. London: Ray Society.

Wiegmann, Arend Friedrich. 1828. Über die Bastarderzeugung im Pflanzenreiche. Eine von der königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin gekrönte Preisschrift. Brunswick: Friedrich Vieweg.


Asks CD’s opinion of John Denny’s idea that males have prepotent transmission power in plants. A. J. F. Wegmann says the females are prepotent.

Letter details

Letter no.
Maxwell Tylden Masters
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Source of text
DAR 171: 83
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8597,” accessed on 24 June 2021,

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