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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Asa Gray   11 December 1874

Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Mass.

Dec. 11 1874.

My Dear Darwin,

I must be owing you an answer to more than one note, and an apology for being able to do nothing, as I fear, to help you as to either Pinguicula or Utricularia—tho. I tried, by addressing correspondents.1

I should have thought that I had appealed to Mrs. Treat of New Jersey, about Utricularia, but I now find that she has taken up Utricularia, as she says, out of her own head.2 I suppose she is fairly to be relied on—is certainly trustworthy, and very enthusiastic.

The best good wishes for Xmas & New Year to you and yours.—and much good work may you get off this coming year, & later, and pray bring out your Drosera & Dionæa paper.3 My wife4 adds affectionate regards. It would do her good to have one of those hearty laughs with you. But, alas, we are indeed sad, inexpressibly grieved & bleeding at heart for poor dear Hooker in his bereavement.5

You like to glance at little things I throw off, now & then—especially when, as generally happens, your name gets lugged in. I send—through Hooker, a piece of blurred newspaper sheet, the agricultural side of N. Y. Tribune, in which I have popularly discussed the duration of varieties.6 It would please me to think you thought it worth reading through.

Affectionately Yours | Asa Gray


CD’s last letters to Gray were those of 25 June 1874 and 30 June [1874]; CD asked Gray about Pinguicula (butterwort) in both letters. No letter has been found in which CD asked Gray about Utricularia (bladderwort).
CD published his work on Drosera (sundew) and Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap) in Insectivorous plants in 1875. Gray had been urging CD to publish on Drosera and Dionaea since at least 1871 (Correspondence vol. 19, letter from Asa Gray, 3 August 1871).
Jane Loring Gray.
Frances Harriet Hooker, Joseph Dalton Hooker’s wife, died on 13 November 1874 (Allan 1967, p. 225).
There is a lightly annotated copy of Gray’s article ‘Do varieties wear out, or tend to wear out?’ (A. Gray 1874e) in DAR 76: B112.


Allan, Mea. 1967. The Hookers of Kew, 1785–1911. London: Michael Joseph.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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


Cannot help with Pinguicula or Utricularia. Mrs Mary Treat is studying Utricularia.

Forwards his short piece on duration of varieties [New York Tribune 8 Dec 1874; Am. J. Sci. 3d ser. 9 (1875): 109–14].

Letter details

Letter no.
Asa Gray
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Botanic Garden, Cambridge, Mass.
Source of text
DAR 165: 187
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9753,” accessed on 28 May 2020,

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