skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. N. Staley   25 February [1874]1

Croxall Vicarage | Lichfield.

Feb. 25th.

My dear Sir,

A remark in your last calls for a few words from me still.2 I refer to foreign fruits. In speaking of the food of the people, I had in my mind the staple food—but I ought to have mentioned that a great many tropical fruits have been introduced, such as the mango, guava, orange, pine-apple—peach (very inferior) during the last century. Still the people do not much care for fruits; it is the foreign community and shipping interests that call for their cultivation, and the export to San Francisco.

They are grown by the Chinese chiefly for this purpose. The banana I believe to have been indigenous. The Bread fruit in the Hawaiian Archipelago is little grown. Maize is hardly grown at all there, strange to say. Even now; the sugar cane is widely cultivated. How far it is indigenous I cannot say. The natives at all events suck the cane, pulling off the outer skin or rather champ it. It is a favourite relish & universal. Now it is an interesting question whether this is an innovation (for it wd. have considerable influence) or whether it is an old practice. Some natives declare they always had the sugar cane, or at least, a wild sort (sorghum it is called— I grew a crop yearly for my own horses). But of course here there is a great sugar export. Some 500 tons monthly to S. Francisco.

I am My Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | T N Staley | Bp.

The isotherm of Honolulu is 77o. F.3 Range of Thermom about 20o   Thus under cool winds temperate fruits grow at least on plateaux.


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from T. N. Staley, 20 February 1874.
CD’s letter to Staley has not been found; see, however, the letter from T. N. Staley, 20 February 1874.
77oF.: 25oC.


Introduction of tropical fruits in Hawaiian Islands.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Nettleship Staley
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 89: 195–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9314,” accessed on 11 July 2020,

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