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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Francis Darwin   [1875?]1


My dear Father

I have had two mornings work at Drosera but without success. I got into a very good way of doing it but the plants seem sluggish. The first morning 26″ was the quickest—counting from the beginning of contact of the drop of meat infusion. The second morning they were more sluggish still; ammonia is not so nice to work with as meat; as with meat one is not afraid of evaporation making ones drop weak if one waits a bit—2 The only thing of the slightest interest is that contact for 1′ produced movement in just the same time counting from the beginning as contact for 4″ did; the tentacles were on the same leaf; but of course one experiment isnt much good— I shall try again, because now I can do it accurately—

My frog preparations are pretty good—3

I am very glad mother & you are keeping well.4

Thank you for writing about the pamphlets, we have cut up a lot & sorted some—it will be done when you come home—

Yr affec son | F Darwin


The year is conjectured from an archivist’s mark on the letter.
Francis was writing an article on aggregation in the tentacles of Drosera rotundifolia (common or round-leaved sundew) for the July 1876 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Microscopical Science (F. Darwin 1876b).
Francis was working on frogs for his article in the October issue of Journal of Anatomy and Physiology (F. Darwin 1875a).
In 1875, CD and Emma were away from Down from 31 March to 12 April, 3 June to 6 July, 28 August to 11 September, and 10 to 20 December. Insectivorous plants, which discussed Drosera at length, was published on 2 July. (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II).)


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


Had two mornings working on Drosera but it was sluggish. Frog preparations are pretty good.

Letter details

Letter no.
Francis Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 274.1: 28
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9791F,” accessed on 16 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23