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Darwin Correspondence Project

To ?1   8 June 1874

I should be greatly obliged if you would observe for me about what proportion (i.e. 12 14 15 or 110) of the leaves of Pinguicola have insects adhering to them. It would greatly help if any leaves with captured insects were folded up separately in damp rag, & such packets sent to me in a tin box with damp moss by post. I should thus learn what sorts of insects were caught.

Please to observe carefully whether the secretion from the captured insect ever runs to the upturned edge of the leaf of the leaf, and is then deflected to either side along the channel formed by the upturned edge. I have ascertained that the leaves absorbe nutritious matter from seeds placed on them; & I particularly want to know whether in a state of nature, seed of any kind are found adhering to the leaves. Should this occur, please to send me such leaves, packed as above described.

The observations on seeds, would be best mad in one, two or three months hence. In what kind of situation does Pinguicola vulgaris grow, & what kind of other plants grow round it.?

Ch. Darwin

Down Beckenham Kent Jun 8th. 1874


This letter is a version of the draft letter to W. C. Marshall, 8 June [1874]. For possible recipients see the letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 9 June 1874 and n. 3. The amanuensis, possibly Horace Darwin, made the copy from a version in Emma Darwin’s hand; he follows her consistent misspelling of Pinguicula (butterwort) as ‘Pinguicola’ (see for example, letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 9 June 1874). Emma Darwin’s version, now in DAR 59.1: 88, was used as the basis for the draft letter to John Ralfs, [after 25 June 1874]; CD marked the alterations for the letter to Ralfs directly onto her copy.


Asks about insects and seeds on leaves of Pinguicula.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.435)
Physical description
1p inc ? & Adraft 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9230,” accessed on 7 December 2021,

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