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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. T. Thiselton-Dyer   26 June 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

June 26 1874

My dear Mr Dyer

Your letter will be of much use to me, & it is very good of you, busy as you are, to write to me at such length.1 Thanks for the heath seeds. I spoke about exalbuminous seeds merely like a parrot without any definite understanding.2 I will write to Mr Ralfs.3

Will you ask Hooker whether he has kept a few references which I sent him about plants catching insects. One of these related to the bladders of Utricularia, & I shd be very glad to see it again.4 I have been writing to several quarters for Utricularia: I suppose you have no species at Kew. By the way Hooker thought he cd get me another plant of Drosophyllum.5

My daughter writes from Wales that the little glandular leaves are from the “bog-heath”, whatever this means; she finds a great many of these little leaves on Pinguicola.6

She has found 4 additional seeds on the leaves. My son & I are trying exts. with milk: what Linneus says about the Laplanders using Ping. to curdle milk is well known & the same plan used in Wales.7

yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


See letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 9 June 1874. See also letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 25 June 1874 and n. 7; Thiselton-Dyer’s reply to this point was presumably in the missing portion of that letter. Exalbuminous: having no albumen.
CD’s future daughter-in-law, Amy Ruck, had sent specimens of Pinguicula from Wales (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 23 June 1874 and n. 3); her letter has not been found. ‘Bog heather’ is another name for Erica tetralix (see letter from W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 26 June 1874).
For CD’s interest in the use of Pinguicula (butterwort) as a curdling agent, see also the letter from Thomas Aitken, [c. 25 June 1874]. Carl von Linné described its use for this purpose in his book on the flora of Lapland (Linnaeus 1737, p. 10). There are notes on experiments using milk carried out by CD and Francis Darwin from 1 June 1874 in DAR 59.1: 35; see also Insectivorous plants, pp. 384 and 389.


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.

Linnaeus, Carolus (Carl von Linné). 1737. Flora Lapponica exhibens plantas per Lapponiam crescentes, secundum systema sexuale collectas in itinere. Amsterdam: Salomon Schouten.


Thanks for letter and seeds.

Asks that Hooker return references about plants eating insects.

Discusses Pinguicula.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Turner Thiselton-Dyer
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Thiselton-Dyer, W. T., Letters from Charles Darwin 1873–81: 14–15)
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9515,” accessed on 21 February 2024,

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