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Darwin Correspondence Project

To G. J. Romanes   8 October 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Oct 8. 75

My dear Mr Romanes

I dispatched the certificate to Kew immediately after receiving it, but from some reason it has not yet come back. As there is no hurry & as Huxley is coming here tomorrow week I will retain the certificate for his signature.1

The potatoes arrived yesterday; considering the descriptions of the German observers, it seems to me that two of the lots are certainly hybridised.2 You will however be able to judge much better by looking at a large number of the tubers of all sizes of the two parent kinds, & if none are mottled like yr. supposed hybrids, I should think you might speak confidently. I would suggest yr looking at a large number of the pure kinds grown in the same soil; & to give the reader some definite idea I would say that I had looked over so many bushels, & that a bushel contains so many potatoes. It will be much better for you to plant the hybrids next season, than for me to keep any; & I have not seen any exact account of how far the produce reverts to the two pure forms. To ascertain this you would have to keep an account of each potatoe when planted. Shall I send the potatoes to you in Scotland?

I suspect that the potatoes ought to be kept in almost dry sand to prevent their drying too much. It almost makes me weep to think of the onions, as the nature of seminal hybrids from a graft hybrids would be so absolutely new. Many thanks about the drawing of the striped horse, but this subject is finished & printed off.3

Let me hear soon where I shall send the potatoes

my dear Mr Romanes | yrs sincerely | Ch. Darwin


CD had proposed Romanes for membership of the Linnean Society (see letter to G. J. Romanes, 24 September [1875] and n. 2). He had sent the nomination form to William Turner Thiselton-Dyer for his signature and that of Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 3 October [1875] and n. 4). Thomas Henry Huxley visited CD on 16 and 17 October 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
See letter from G. J. Romanes, 29 September 1875. Romanes had sent some of the best specimens from his potato-grafting experiments.


CD is circulating certificate proposing GJR for membership in Linnean Society.

Discusses hybrid potatoes from Germany.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George John Romanes
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.477)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10186,” accessed on 3 August 2020,

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