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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   1 October [1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 1st

My dear Hooker

I am so very glad that you have found out the name of U. neglecta. I had specimens from Bisterne in the New Forest, & from near Penzance.—2 In the former place it seems common.—

Thank Harriette very much for extract.— I am trying my best to grow Aldrovanda, for I wd. give the world to try one or two experiments with it.—3

Thanks, also, for extract about Hedychium: it seems that I was quite wrong about manner of fertilisation; but I see the writer knows nothing about crossing & the meaning of insects’ visits.—4

Ever yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 September 1874.
Utricularia neglecta (now Utricularia australis); see letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 September 1874. For the specimens from the New Forest, see the letter to David Moore, 12 July 1874; for Penzance, see the letter from John Ralfs, 9 July 1874, and the letter to John Ralfs, 13 July [1874].
Hooker’s daughter Harriet Anne Hooker sent CD some Aldrovanda vesiculosa (the waterwheel plant); see letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 September 1874 and n. 4.
CD refers to the letter from J. A. Gammie, 28 August 1874, in which James Alexander Gammie suggested that the vibration from the wings of a sphinx moth caused pollen to fall into the flowers of Hedychium coronarium (the butterfly-lily or ginger lily), resulting in self-fertilisation. CD had previously hypothesised that the extremely exserted stamens of the flowers of Hedychium would allow the pollen to be dusted onto the wings of sphinx moths (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 March [1874] and n. 3). Gammie also described insect visits to Hedychium gardnerianum (Kahili ginger or the Kahila garland-lily) in his letter of 16 February 1874.


Thanks JDH for extract on Hedychium pollination; it shows CD’s prior interpretation was incorrect.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 421–422
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9665,” accessed on 5 August 2020,

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