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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Mary Treat   22 October 1874

Vineland, New Jersey,

Oct. 22, 1874.

Dear Mr. Darwin,

My observations on Dionaea are now completed and ready for publication. I am afraid I have delayed too long in giving you the desired information with regard to the leaf catching more than one insect.1

Several leaves caught successively, three insects each, but most of them were not able to digest the third fly; but died in the attempt.

Five leaves digested, each three flies, and closed over the fourth, but died soon after the fourth capture.

Many leaves did not digest even one large insect.

I will try to send you my observations when published.

Respectfully yours | Mary Treat.

I read Dr Hooker’s admirable address on “Carnivorous Plants”, in Nature with much interest.2

CD annotations

2.1 Several … attempt. 2.2] scored red crayon
3.1 digested] ‘however,’ interl after ink
3.2 capture] ‘was’ interl after ink


See letter to Mary Treat, 22 June 1874. CD quoted this information from Treat in Insectivorous plants, p. 311. Treat did not publish on Dionaea (Venus fly trap), but she had previously sent observations to CD in her letter of 8 June 1874.
J. D. Hooker 1874b.


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


Observation on the limitations on the power of digestion in Dionaea.

Letter details

Letter no.
Mary Lua Adelia (Mary) Treat
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Vineland, N.J.
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 108
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9692,” accessed on 5 August 2020,

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