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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   12 November 1858


Nov. 12th/58

Dear Darwin

I am hugely relieved by the notes you have sent me for Lyell’s Eloge—they are the very things I wanted, for though I knew the facts, I had no confidence in my knowledge of them as to their extent, kind or originality.—1 I have been most successful with the Ralfs affair, & with the names you suggested particularly—Miss Carr—Miss Eyton—, E. Darwin, Harcourt, Herbert, Wollaston have all subscribed—& Mr Hore has also through Harvey2 Mr. Borrer promises me £30. as his own subscription, so we are altogether in a fair way3

I am very busy with the Introd Essay to Tasmanian Flora, & am dealing with the Australian as a whole—4 The only thing that will strike you is that the vast majority of the trees are hermaphrodite5—this arises from the preponderanceof arborescent hermaphrodite orders. (Myrtaceæ Leguminosæ) & absence of Amentaceous.6

The great preponderance of local distinct species in the Flora I must hook on to the destruction of seeds somehow restricting the multiplication of forms— In the Swan River where an incredible number of species are crammed up into a very small area, the climate & soil seem most unfavorable to the germination of seeds by nature, & further the most local & peculiar order, Proteaceæ, ripen very few seeds & are a long time about it.

I however want you to print before I make up my mind to go into this subject. I also want you to print that I may take up your refrigeration doctrine, to which I think I should have come clumsily at last by myself as the only way of accounting for the spread of European species to Australia. 7

It is curious—that so many more Europ. sp. should be in Australia than in Fuegia & S. Chili! 8 Especially considering the enormous distance of Europe to Australia & no continuous mountains.

Put end of string on globe on England & other end on V.DL.9 & it will run through the most continuous masses of Land on globe—it is the greatest stretch of all but dry land that you can find, & I can connect the Botany the whole way by mountains of 1. Borneo; 2, Java & Ceylon & Penins Ind.10 3 Khasia; 4 Himal 5 Caucasus, 6 Alps. 7 Scandinavia.— I can thus connect Botanically England with VDL. better than I could Canada with Fuegia!

I send a list of European Species found in S.W. Australia & Tasmania, also of European Genera in Australia.11 Ask for any thing else that occurs to you—now is the time.

Ever Yrs | Jos D Hooker

CD annotations

crossed pencil
‘Tierra del Fuego’added ink
6.5 Botanically] underl pencil
crossed pencil
Bottom of last page: ‘annuals12 pencil


See letter to J. D. Hooker, 2 November [1858]. Hooker refers to Charlotte Eyton, the daughter of Thomas Campbell Eyton, who was much interested in scientific topics (DNB). William Strong Hore, a botanist who lived in Plymouth, Devonshire, had previously subscribed to John Ralfs’s monograph on the desmids (Ralfs 1848). Hore was a contemporary of CD’s at Cambridge University.
Ralfs had dedicated Ralfs 1848 to William Borrer in acknowledgment of his invaluable assistance and encouragement during the long preparation of the work.
Hooker’s introductory essay was published as the last number of Hooker 1855–60. It was also published separately with a different title page as Hooker 1859 (see Wiltshear 1913). CD’s an-notated copy of the latter, and a further unmarked copy, are in the Darwin Library–CUL.
Hooker and CD had previously discussed the likelihood of trees exhibiting a separation of the sexes (see Correspondence vol. 6). Hooker’s comment that Tasmanian trees were predominantly hermaphrodite (possessing both sexes in the flowers) would weaken CD’s generalisation that all organisms must occasionally cross-fertilise. See Natural selection, p. 47, for CD’s discussion of the subject and his reasons for thinking that even when self-fertilisation was the norm, it was possible that fertilisation by another individual of the same species could occasionally take place.
Amentaceous: ‘bearing catkins’ (OED).
Hooker addressed the ‘refrigeration doctrine’ in Hooker 1859. CD proposed that temperate plants had invaded tropical zones during a cold period and moved to higher altitudes in the equatorial zone when the cold diminished (see Natural selection, pp. 534–54). Hooker had read and commented on CD’s views in 1856 (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter to J. D. Hooker, [16 October 1856]).
Hooker discussed the existence of European species in Tierra del Fuego in Hooker 1844–7.
Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania).
Hooker refers to the Indian peninsula.
The list of European genera in Australia is in DAR 50: E61–4. The list of European species found in south-west Australia and Tasmania has not been found.
CD’s annotation is a response to Hooker’s information that many of the trees in Tasmania are hermaphrodite. CD thought that this could perhaps be explained by their being mostly aborescent forms of common annual plants.


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

DNB: Dictionary of national biography. Edited by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee. 63 vols. and 2 supplements (6 vols.). London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1912. Dictionary of national biography 1912–90. Edited by H. W. C. Davis et al. 9 vols. London: Oxford University Press. 1927–96.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1844–7. Flora Antarctica. 1 vol. and 1 vol. of plates. Pt 1 of The botany of the Antarctic voyage of HM discovery ships Erebus and Terror in the years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. London: Reeve Brothers.

Hooker, Joseph Dalton. 1855–60. Flora Tasmaniæ. Pt 3 of The botany of the Antarctic voyage of HM Discovery Ships Erebus and Terror, in the years 1839–1843, under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross. 2 vols. London.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.

OED: The Oxford English dictionary. Being a corrected re-issue with an introduction, supplement and bibliography of a new English dictionary. Edited by James A. H. Murray, et al. 12 vols. and supplement. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1970. A supplement to the Oxford English dictionary. 4 vols. Edited by R. W. Burchfield. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1972–86. The Oxford English dictionary. 2d edition. 20 vols. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1989. Oxford English dictionary additional series. 3 vols. Edited by John Simpson et al. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1993–7.

Ralfs, John. 1848. The British Desmidieæ. London: Reeve, Bentham, and Reeve.

Wiltshear, F. G. 1913. The botany of the Antarctic voyage. Journal of Botany: British and Foreign 51: 355–8. [Vols. 6,7,8]


Busy with introductory essay to [The botany of the Antarctic voyage, pt III] Flora Tasmaniae [printed separately as On the flora of Australia (1859)].

Now explains greater abundance of European species in Tasmania than in Fuegia by CD’s "refrigeration" hypothesis.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 100: 123–4
Physical description
ALS 4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2358,” accessed on 5 February 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7