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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   29 September 1874

Royal Gardens Kew

Sept 29th/ 74

Dear Darwin

Drosera binata, (Labillardiere) is the right name to adopt.1U. Amethystia comes from Guiana.—& is marsh apparently U. nelumbiifolia from the top of the Organ Mts. & is aquatic or subaquatic2 (see over page)

On arrival I found a small box just arrived with Aldrovanda from a correspondent at Hamburgh!3 Harriett4 sends you half of it in bottle by this post. If you don’t want to grow it please put it in spirits—but grow it if you can.

Oliver’s paper is5

The Utricularia that grows on other plants is the identical U. nelumbifolia we looked at yesterday & the history was on the ticket!!! under all our noses & in very large hand-writing too. I find it referred to in Gardners travels & Harriette has copied the passage!6

Oliver & I have been 2 hours at that little devil of a seed & are dead beat—as is Bentham!7— — this, is dicotyledonous & exalbuminous.

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

The large Utricularia from Yorkshire is true U. vulgaris

Your smaller one is the U. neglecta Lehm., a very rare British plant indeed, only noted for Epex— I had never seen it alive before or should doubtless have kept it—as a good species— Please send me its habitat.

I have just heard of the death of an aunt (my mothers eldest sister)8—and shall go to the funeral at Yarmouth on Saturday

CD annotations

5.1 Oliver … exalbuminous. 5.2 crossed blue crayon
8.2 I have … Saturday 9.2] crossed blue crayon


CD had received a specimen of Drosera binata, the forked-leaf sundew, from Dorothy Fanny Nevill (see letter to D. F. Nevill, 7 September 1874 and n. 1). At the time, he was calling it D. dichotoma (see letter to D. F. Nevill, 3 September 1874). The plant was first described by the French naturalist Jacques-Julien Houtou de Labillardière (see Labillardière 1804–6, 1: 78–9).
CD had received fragments of Utricularia amethystina (Florida purple bladderwort) and U. nelumbifolia from the herbarium at Kew (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 28 [September 1874] and n. 1). The Organ mountains (Serra dos Orgãos) are in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The German correspondent who sent Aldrovanda vesiculosa, the waterwheel plant, has not been identified (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 15 September 1874 and n. 3).
Hooker’s sentence is incomplete. In his letter of 23 September 1874, he had referred to a paper by Daniel Oliver on Utricularia (Oliver 1859).
The description of Utricularia nelumbifolia appears in George Gardner’s Travels in the interior of Brazil (G. Gardner 1846, p. 68).
Hooker’s mother was Maria Hooker; his aunt was Mary Anne Turner.


Gardner, George. 1846a. Travels in the interior of Brazil, principally through the northern provinces and the gold and diamond districts, during the years 1836–1841. London: Reeve, Brothers.

Labillardière, Jacques-Julien Houtou de. 1804–6. Novæ Hollandiæ plantarum specimen. 2 vols. Paris: Huzard.

Oliver, Daniel. 1859b. Descriptions of new species of Utricularia from South America, with notes upon the genera Polypompholyx and Akentra. [Read 17 November 1859.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 4 (1860): 169–76.


Information about various species of Utricularia.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 93–94
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9663,” accessed on 1 October 2023,

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