To Asa Gray 20 December 1876
Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.
Dec 20. 1876
My dear Gray.
Very many thanks about Hottonia.1 You mention Forsythia in the American Naturalist, and I have just examined dried flowers from Kew, & find that F. suspensa is beautifully dimorphic; so I have got a new family.2 I have been thinking about your proposed new terms, and I cannot for very shame change again I have used this term in two or three printed articles, and it is used by several German & Italian writers. Kuhn objected to the term on the same ground as you do; but no one objects to Vertebrata, because it includes an animal without vertebræ. Moreover heterostyled seems to me more definite than heterogone, as the latter would apply to di & monœcious & to polygamous plants. I am of course not able to appreciate the difficulty of working in the term in systematic works; but Thwaites speaks of forma stylosa, & why may not a species be called hetero stylosa?3
However this may be it really would be too ridiculous for me to change again, so I remain Your affectionate & obstinate friend | Charles Darwin
Thanks for information about Hottonia.
Has found dimorphism in Forsythia.
Considers AG’s arguments on different terms for dimorphism, but cannot change to using the proposed new term [see 10699].
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10728,” accessed on 3 May 2016, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-10728