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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [before 18 June 1874]1

Ashton Lodge, | Bassett, Southampton.


My dear Father

I send references of Pinguicula & Utricularia copied out exactly.

I am delighted Frank2 is all right as I knew he would be.

Your affect son | W. E. D.

Mr Broomfield says of U. vulgaris “I have observed that the stems float about in the water unconnected by any root or visible means of communication with the soil, a fact since confirmed by Revd W. H. Coleman, who supposes that the extremities of the branches detach themselves in early spring, & continue increasing in length through the summer, as they are at first not above an inch or two in length & without bladders”3

Pinguicula lusitanica

In spongy bogs & moist heathy places in W. Medina: rare; probably attaining here its eastern limit. Plentiful on piece of boggy ground Called Little Moor, just below Cockleton Farm near W. Cowes July 1839!!! on Colwell heath, sparingly.

Utricularia vulgaris.

W. Medina—in several drains & ditches in Marsh at Freshwater Gate, never seen by me in Flower.— Ditches in marsh at Easton, plentifully FL:Vect:!!!4

U. minor—very rare

E. Medina—abundantly in the meadows immediately below the farm at Langbridge by Newchurch, but flowering very sparingly Mr Jacobs 18425


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. D. Fox, 18 June 1874, in which CD enclosed the portion of this letter beginning ‘Pinguicula lusitanica’. Pinguicula lusitanica is the pale butterwort.
The quotation is from William Arnold Bromfield’s flora of the Isle of Wight (Bromfield 1856, p. 395). William Higgins Coleman was co-author of a flora of Hertfordshire (Webb and Coleman 1849).
The information on locations is extracted, with minor modifications, from Bromfield 1856, pp. 394–5. Exclamation marks are commonly used in botanical descriptions to indicate authentication by the author. ‘FL:Vect:’ is an abbreviation for Flora Vectensis, the title of Bromfield 1856.
West and East Medina are the principal regions of the Isle of Wight. Mr Jacobs has not been identified. Utricularia vulgaris is the common bladderwort; U. minor is the lesser bladderwort.


Bromfield, William Arnold. 1856. Flora Vectensis: being a systematic description of the phænogamous or flowering plants and ferns indigenous to the Isle of Wight. Edited by William Jackson Hooker and Thomas Bell Salter. London: William Pamplin.


Sends references on Utricularia and Pinguicula.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 137; Christ’s College Library, Cambridge (MS 53 Fox 154)
Physical description
ALS 2pp inc ?

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9201,” accessed on 25 June 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22