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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   15 [June 1855]1



My dear Hooker

I just write one line to say that the Hedysarum2 is come quite safely & thank you for it.—

You cannot imagine what amusement you have given me by naming those 3 grasses: I have just got paper to dry & collect all grasses.— If ever you catch quite a beginner, & want to give him a taste for Botany tell him to make perfect list of some little field or wood. Both Miss Thorley & I agree that it gives a really uncommon interest to the work, having a nice little definite world to work on, instead of the awful abyss & immensity of all British Plants.3

Adios.— I was really consummately impudent to express my opinion, “on retrograde step”,4 & I deserved a good snub, & upon reflexion I am very glad you did not answer me in G. Chronicle.

I have been very much interested with the Florula Juvenalis & I will, I think, send to Godron5 a copy of G. Chronicle.—

I will next year try the Azores seeds, & will therefore sometime get you to give me reference to list of plants of that archipelago.

Once again farewell | C. D.

I have been watching impregnation of Orchideæ & there is something about the visits of insects which quite puzzles me.— The Fly-Ophrys seems hardly ever to get its pollen masses moved at all, & the germens swell when plant has been covered by Bell glass.—


Dated on the basis of CD’s reference to Godron 1853, which he completed reading on 16 June 1855 (see n. 4, below) and on letter from J. D. Hooker, [6–9 June 1855].
In his letter to the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 21 May [1855], CD had commented on Edward Forbes’s theory of continental extension as ‘an almost retrograde step in science—it cuts the knot instead of untying it’.
Dominique Alexandre Godron’s Florula Juvenalis (Godron 1853) discusses the introduction of plants by means of wool imported at Port Juvenalis, near Montpellier (see LL 2: 60 n.). CD recorded having read the work on 16 June 1855 (Correspondence vol. 4, Appendix IV, 128: 12). CD’s abstract of Godron 1853 is in DAR 71: 82–4.


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

LL: The life and letters of Charles Darwin, including an autobiographical chapter. Edited by Francis Darwin. 3 vols. London: John Murray. 1887–8.


Thanks for Hedysarum.

Pleasure in identifying field plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 137
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1700,” accessed on 3 August 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5