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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   [1 November 1873]1

Royal Gardens Kew


Dear Darwin

Thanks for yr famous letter— the leaves go back by post— I send the names herewith.2 I could send you a box of far more glaucous leaves than these—with names if you wish it.— You did not ask for the glaucous leaves.

The A. farnesiana—has gone as directed. Your warmer greenhouse will do well for it— please do not water it over-much.3 I shall send you albide too4— if worth it. It is really no use here at this season, when so few visitors come.

I am writing every-where for Drosophyllum.5

I am deeply interested in Desmodium; what you tell me is quite novel, I shall watch over seedlings— It is curious that the smaller leaflets should become alternate in cultivation. Frank—& I could not find any on the wild specimens.6

I shall look out for a Desmod. with small side pinnicles in the propagating pits.—

I had no intention of publishing Nepenthes, the experiments were made solely for your eating. & I hope that you will absorb them in the Drosera paper.7 I thought of mentioning them at the Phil. Club8 as experiments suggested by & undertaken for you—if you did not object: If ever these, & those on Sarracenia &c should be worth collecting & making a paper of, it cannot be till you have done Drosera.9

I am now going to look at the egg in Virgin Nepenthes & shall try meat next week.—10 I do not see how I can prove the fluid to be more acid after the exhibition of the meat— there is but little fluid in any pitcher, it does not reach 14th way up the Secreting surface.— I now want proof that the fluid is secreted by the glands— how can I set to work about that?

I am glad of your note about the apples. Searles Woods letter is a very confused one & would deny atavism if his principles were accepted. I will send it to Lyell.11 How feeble Lyell is— he came to Phil. Club the other night—when we had a capital meeting— I am suffering from Eczema Auriculæ & am being lotioned & potioned: I have long had it: but it has broken out very bad lately.

I will write again next week

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker.



5. a. celastrifolia

8. a. verniciflua var latifolia?

12 a. pycnantha

13 a. cultriformis

19 a. leprosa

20 a. verticillata

21 a. verniciflua

22 a. sp.

23 a. melanoxylon?

24 a. vestita

25 a. sp.

26 a. armata

27 a. parvissima

28 a. leprosa

29 a. retinoides

30 a. pteroclada

31 a. vestita

32 a. melanoxylon

34 a. longifolia var. mucronata?

35 a. myrtifolia

36 a. longifolia

37 a. longifolia var.


1. E. sp.

2. E. rostrata

3. E. sp.

4. E. stricta

7. E. goniocalyx

9. E. sp.

10 E. sp.

11 E. Globulus

14 E. cordata

15 E. obliqua

16 E. Eudesmioides

17 E. resinifera

18 E. sp.

33 E. Globulus

CD annotations

4.2 alternate] underl blue crayon
7.2 I do not … meat— 7.3] ‘Only by colour & Litmus’ in left margin red crayon
7.4 how can I … that? 7.5] ‘See Notes’ in left margin red crayon
End of letter: ‘Any plant of any order with any leaflet gratefully received’ pencil
1. E. sp.] ‘for it was wetted’ ink; ‘good to examine– [Take spec]blue crayon
2. E. rostrata] ‘do’ blue crayon
4. E. stricta] ‘—do’ blue crayon
7. E. goniocalyx] ‘—[brought—somewhat wetted]pencil
10 E sp.] ‘—very good’ pencil
14 E. cordata] ‘—good’ pencil
15 … Eudesmioides] closing parenthesis pencil; ‘—one of these’ pencil
17 E. resinifera] closing parenthesis pencil
18 E. sp.] closing parenthesis pencil


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 October [1873]. In 1873, the Saturday following 30 October was 1 November.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 October [1873]. CD had sent Hooker some Eucalyptus and Acacia leaves to identify.
CD had requested a living specimen of Acacia farnesiana in order to observe the movement of its leaves, and had asked what temperature it required (see letters to J. D. Hooker, 30 October [1873] and 31 October 1873). See also letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 October 1873 and n. 1.
CD had requested a specimen of Mimosa albida. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 26 October [1873].
CD had described the movements of Desmodium in his letter to Hooker of 31 October 1873. Hooker had shown Francis Darwin the Desmodium collection at Kew (see letter from Francis Darwin, [26? October 1873]).
CD had asked that Hooker acknowledge his work on Drosera (the sundew), should Hooker publish on Nepenthes (the tropical pitcher-plant; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 31 October 1873).
The Philosophical Club was a group of fellows of the Royal Society of London (see Bonney 1919).
Hooker had offered to work on Sarracenia (trumpet pitchers) and other species after finishing his experiments with Nepenthes (letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 October 1873). He later reported that his experiments with Nepenthes had closely followed CD’s on Drosera and Dionaea (J. D. Hooker 1874, pp. 111–16).
CD had sent Hooker a letter from Searles Valentine Wood to Charles Lyell on apple varieties (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 30 October [1873]).
Acacia celastrifolia is glowing wattle; A. verniciflua is varnish wattle; A. pycnantha is glowing wattle; A. cultriformis is knife-leaf wattle; A. leprosa is cinnamon wattle; A. verticillata is star-leaved wattle; A. melanoxylon is black wattle; A. vestita is hairy wattle; A. armata is a synonym of A. paradoxa (kangaroo thorn); A. pravissima is Ovens wattle; A. retinodes is swamp wattle; A. pteroclada is a synonym of A. trigonophylla; A. longifolia var. mucronata is a synonym of A. mucronata (narrow-leaf wattle).
Eucalyptus rostrata is a synonym of E. robusta (swamp mahogany); E. stricta is Blue Mountains mallee ash; E. goniocalyx is mountain grey gum; E. globulus is Tasmanian blue gum; E. cordata is heart-leaved silver gum; E. obliqua is messmate or Australian oak; E. eudesmioides is desert gum; E. resinifera is red mahogany.


Bonney, T. G. 1919. Annals of the Philosophical Club of the Royal Society written from its minute books. London: Macmillan.


Sends leaves and names by post.

Is writing everywhere for Drosophyllum.

Is deeply interested in Desmodium.

Had no intention of publishing on Nepenthes, the experiments were solely for CD’s "eating". Will continue with egg and raw meat experiments. Asks for advice on how to prove fluid is secreted by the glands.

Searles Wood’s letter is confused and would deny atavism if his principles were accepted.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 178–80, DAR 209.12: 3
Physical description
ALS 6pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9123,” accessed on 23 July 2024,

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