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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   16 April 1875


April 16/75.

Dear Darwin

I quite approve the draft. in its essential features.1 I had a talk with Huxley2 about it last night—who is very strongly in favour of a bill.

Yes I know the pitchers of one species of Dischidia a native of Malacca—see Linn. Trans. xx. t. 17. 18. in which the roots dip into the hollow of the leaf! & it would be very curious if it digested leaves.3 I once had the plant at Kew, but it arrived in a dying state. I have just appointed a Gardener to the Straits settlements4 & shall hope to get the plant. The other Dischidias have nothing of the kind!

I should fancy that the spathe of Alocasia is to hold insects for fertilization.5

sesquipedalis = a foot & a half & applies to the length of the pitcher.

Ever yr aff | J D Hooker


CD had sent Hooker a copy of the draft vivisection bill (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 April [1875]).
Thomas Henry Huxley.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 April [1875] and n. 5. Hooker refers to Dischidia rafflesiana (the ant plant; now D. major) and the plates that accompanied Griffith 1846 and Griffith 1847. Mallaca is a Malaysian state south of the Malay Peninsula, next to the Straits of Malacca.
The gardener was Henry James Murton.
Alocasia odora is the night-scented lily. See letter to J. D. Hooker, 14 April [1875].


Griffith, William. 1846. On the structure of the ascidia and stomata of Dischidia rafflesiana Wall. [Read 20 January 1846.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 20 (1846–7): 387–90.

Griffith, William. 1847. On the impregnation of Dischidia. [Read 2 March 1847.] Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 20 (1846–7): 391–6.


Approves draft of vivisection bill. Huxley strongly in favour of a bill.

Knows of the pitchers of one species of Dischidia.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 104: 25
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9935,” accessed on 16 June 2021,

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