skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   28 February 1873


28th of Febr. | 1873.

My dear Sir!

Herewith I send you a copy of my book on the fertilisation of flowers by insects.1

Supposing that the matter treated in this book will be of some interest for you, I hope you will look over by leisure at least the first and the last section of it and besides read perhaps the treatise on the one or the other single flower.

My book concerning nearly in the same degree entomological and botanical objects it is to be feared that neither botanists nor entomologists will value duly the contents of it and that thereby my aim to incite as well botanists as entomologists, to take notice of the mutual adaptations of flowers and insects, will be thoroughly disappointed. Therefore it would be of decisive importance for the spreading and for the effects of my book, if you would publish your complete judgement of it.2

My endeavours to inquire after the migrations of the males of humble-bees during the last summer were perfectly frustrated by the extraordinary rarity of humble-bees in our country, apparently caused by a terrible number of field-mice.3

But during the next summer I hope to pursue this objects with better results.

I remain, my dear Sir | yours very sincerely | H. Müller.

Charles Darwin Esq. | Down, Beckenham | Kent.


CD’s heavily annotated copy of H. Müller 1873 is in the Darwin Library–CUL.
No review of H. Müller 1873 has been identified; a brief notice of its publication appeared in the May 1873 issue of Journal of Botany, p. 158.
In Origin, p. 74, CD noted that the number of humble-bees was largely dependent on the number of fieldmice, which destroy combs and nests.


Müller, Hermann. 1873. Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten und die gegenseitigen Anpassungen beider. Ein Beitrag zur Erkenntniss des ursächlichen Zusammenhanges in der organischen Natur. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.


Sends his book [Die Befruchtung der Blumen (1873)]. Hopes CD will publish an opinion of it.

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 299
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8791,” accessed on 4 June 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21