skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Farrer   10 April 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Ap. 10 1874

My dear Farrer

I am delighted to hear about Coronilla. You must publish an account, & especially with diagrams.1 Pray attend whether the bee penetrates & ruptures with its proboscis the cells on the calyx, as I believe to be the case with the nectaries of Orchis mascula &c.2

I do not quite understand the claw on the vexellum, but I will shew your note to my son Frank.3

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter from T. H. Farrer, [before 10 April 1874] and n. 2. Farrer published a short paper on fertilisation in Coronilla (crown vetch) with two diagrams in Nature (Farrer 1874).
In Orchids, p. 15, CD had described the rupture of the rostellum by bees as they tried to get at the nectary in Orchis mascula (the early purple orchid).


Farrer, Thomas Henry. 1874. Fertilisation of papilionaceous flowers—Coronilla. Nature, 2 July 1874, pp. 169–70.

Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Delighted to hear about Coronilla. Urges publication ["Fertilisation of papilionaceous flowers– Coronilla", Nature 10 (1874): 169–70].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st baronet and 1st Baron Farrer
Sent from
Source of text
Linnean Society of London (LS Ms 299/22)
Physical description
LS(A) 1p

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9400,” accessed on 28 September 2023,

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