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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   25 November 1873

Royal Gardens Kew

Nov 25/73.

Dear Darwin

Yes I noted that the albida leaves closed only partially even when most active— the closing being quite different from what obtains at night or with M. pudica under irritation by day.1

The prima facia objection to your theory of the cause of closing will I suppose be, that if true, all or at least more species should close their leaves on the application of water—except indeed you can show special injury done to M. albida by water2

It is just possible that other seeds may be mixed with L. Nissolia; our seed collection is getting old3

No time to think of Nepenthes & Dyer only goes at it when I set to work myself.4 I am in the agonies about the dinner speeches on Monday.5 We increase the albida by cuttings, I do not know why we have got so low with our stock of it as that but our plant of it remains— no one asks for it & we have an enormous stock of other things to keep up6

Thanks for the P.O. card—7 never mind if you do kill M. albida.

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

I have just heard that Lyell has been taken ill in the street & had to be taken into a shop. A Lady was with him—8 I have sent to enquire.—

If Frank is with you please tell him that I have written to Q. A. Str. hoping that he will be my guest at the dinner on Monday9

CD annotations

1.1 only … active—] underl blue crayon
2.1 The prima … be,] scored red crayon
3.1 It is … Monday. 4.2] double crossed red crayon


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 November 1873 and n. 1. Hooker refers to Mimosa albida.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 November 1873. CD had queried whether the seeds Hooker had sent him were in fact all Lathyrus nissolia.
Hooker and William Turner Thiselton-Dyer were working on the tropical pitcher-plant Nepenthes for CD.
Hooker’s presidency of the Royal Society of London was inaugurated at the anniversary dinner on 1 December 1873 (see letter from T. H. Huxley, 3 December 1873 and n. 2).
For CD’s difficulties with Mimosa albida, see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 24 November 1873.
The postcard has not been found.
Hooker refers to Charles Lyell. The lady has not been identified.
Hooker refers to Francis Darwin. Six Queen Anne Street, London, was the address of Erasmus Alvey Darwin, CD’s brother. For the dinner, see n. 5, above.


He has noticed that Mimosa albida leaves closed only partially. It can be objected to CD’s theory that, if true, all, or at least more, species would close their leaves on application of water, unless he can show special injury done to M. albida by water.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 183, 186
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9160,” accessed on 5 December 2022,

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