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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   12 May 1873


12 May | 1873.

My dear Sir,

I thank you very sincerely for your kind letter.1

The summers which I have spent in the observation of the insects visiting our flowers and of the structure of either were of my most gratifying ones by the rich harvest of my excursions. This alone would be a sufficient compensation for all the pains I have bestowed on my book.2 To believe that this book has interested in some way those naturalists, for whom I feel the greatest respect, is the highest reward possible to me. The opinion of my book expressed by my brother Fritz, by Delpino, Hildebrand, Sachs and particularly by you encourages me to continue my investigations,3 and you would very much oblige me by acquainting me also in future with English essays recently published on my subject.

The enclosed fragment of Ranunculus Ficaria may perhaps be of some interest to you, as it shows the incorrectness of the opinion of Mr. Chatin (quoted in your “Variation of animals and plants under domestication” Chap. 18) that bulbifering specimens of this plant never produce fruit4

Believe me, my dear Sir, | yours very sincerely | H Müller.


Müller refers to his Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten (H. Müller 1873; see letter to Hermann Müller, 5 May 1873 and n. 1).
Müller refers to Federico Delpino, Friedrich Hildebrand, and Julius Sachs. Fritz Müller evidently received page proofs of the book and commented on them (see Möller ed. 1915–21, 2: 209–11).
Gaspard Adolphe Chatin’s comments on Ranunculus appeared in Variation 2: 170. Chatin claimed that the bulbiferous form did not produce seed because it produced no pollen. The enclosed specimen was probably the lesser celandine, Ranunculus ficaria bulbifera, in seed. This subspecies, with bulbils at the leaf axils, does produce pollen, although of a low viability.


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.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for CD’s praise of his book [see 8901].

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 300
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8909,” accessed on 21 January 2022,

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