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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Lawson Tait   16 November [1875]1

7, Great Charles St. | Birmingham.

Novr. 16

My Dear Sir,

Have you seen the Dischidia Rafflesiana?

Carpenter describes it (quotum, Dr. Wallich’s Plantae Asiaticae Rariores) at p 152 Principles of Comparative Physiology 4th. Edition.2 Do you know if it is in cultivation?

Yours faithfully, | Lawson Tait


The year is established by the reference to pitcher-plants; Tait was experimenting on the tropical pitcher-plant, Nepenthes, in 1875.
Dischidia rafflesiana, now Dischidia major, was first described in Nathaniel Wallich’s Plantae Asiaticae rariores (Wallich 1830–2, 1: 32, 2: 142). In Principles of comparative physiology, William Benjamin Carpenter compared the plant’s pitchers, which often contained large quantities of ants, to the stomach of animals (Carpenter 1854, p. 152). CD had asked Joseph Dalton Hooker about the pitchers of Dischidia (see letters from J. D. Hooker, 16 April 1875 and 17 April 1875).


Carpenter, William Benjamin. 1854. Principles of comparative physiology. 4th edition. London: John Churchill.

Wallich, Nathaniel. 1830–2. Plantæ Asiaticæ rariores; or, descriptions and figures of a select number of unpublished East Indian plants. 3 vols. London, Paris, and Strasbourg: Treuttel and Würtz.


Has CD ever come across Dischidia rafflesiana?

Letter details

Letter no.
Robert Lawson (Lawson) Tait
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 178: 22
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10261,” accessed on 23 June 2021,

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