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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   20 March [1877]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

March 20th

My dear Hooker

I am ashamed of myself to have asked Oliver to take an unreasonable amount of labour, but indeed I did not foresee that this would be the case, & I beg you to tell him so.— Though the point is a rather curious one in my eyes, I do not think that it wd be worth asking to Frank to give up two days for it, but he is very much obliged for your kind invitation.—2 Hildebrand formerly attended to the cleistogamic flowers of Oxalis, & I have written to him & he perhaps will without much trouble know at once where to look & send me specimens.3

I have seen your notice about Forsythia & you I observe, consider the plants diœious, but the specimens sent me from Kew were clearly heterostyled, with differently sized pollen-grains & other usual differences in the 2 forms of heterostyled plants.4

Do not forget to tell Oliver how sorry I am to have troubled him.

Ever yours | Ch. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 19 March 1877.
CD had asked Daniel Oliver to examine herbarium specimens of flowers of Oxalis species; Hooker wrote that the task was too time consuming but invited Francis Darwin to Kew to do it; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 19 March 1877.
Friedrich Hildebrand had published the results of experiments on cleistogamy in Oxalis in Hildebrand 1866, p. 369, and 1867, pp. 73 and 78. CD’s letter to Hildebrand has not been found, but see the letter from Friedrich Hildebrand, 19 March 1877.
Hooker’s note on Forsythia appeared in Gardener’s Chronicle, 17 March 1877, p. 343. He sent CD dried flowers of Forsythia suspensa (weeping forsythia) collected from different locations with his letter of 13 December 1876, and CD reported them to be dimorphic in his reply of 15 December 1876 (Correspondence vol. 24); see also Forms of flowers, p. 117.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


CD apologises for his burdensome request of Oliver.

Criticises JDH’s notice on Forsythia, which JDH said was dioecious. Forsythia sent to CD from Kew was heterostylous.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 437–8
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10906,” accessed on 23 June 2021,