To J. D. Hooker 17 December 1
Down Bromley Kent
My dear Hooker
Thanks about the Hooked Palm,2 & for your jolly note written by a gentleman lolling in his arm-chair.
I have just been ordering a Photograph of self for a friend; & have ordered one for you & for Heaven-sake oblige me & burn that now hanging up in your room. It makes me look atrociously wicked.—3
When will it do to send me the Apocynum androsæfolium (I enclose address):4 can you find out for me whether it seeds in open air, or had I better keep it in Greenhouse to seed. In the Spring I must get you to look for long pistils & short pistils in the rarer species of Primula & in some allied Genera.— It holds with P. Sinensis You remember all the fuss I made on this subject last Spring:5 well the other day at last I had time to weigh the seeds, & by Jove the Plants of Primrose & Cowslip with short pistils & large-grained pollen are rather more fertile than those with long pistils & small grained pollen. I find that they require the action of insects to set them, & I never will believe that these differences are without some meaning.
Some of my experiments lead me to suspect that the large-grained pollen suits the long pistils & the small-grained pollen suits the short pistils. But I am determined to see, if I cannot make out the mystery next Spring.6
How does your Book on Plants brew in your mind?7 Have you begun it? Farewell.— Since receiving your note, I have read Phillips & such weak, washy stilted stuff I never read—8
Farewell | C. Darwin
Remember me most kindly to Oliver.9 He must be astonished at not having a string of questions, I fear he will get out of practice!
P.S.— | If I can keep pretty well I shall be at Club on Thursday.10 How I wish there was any chance of seeing you there.— If you do come, do let me sit by you.—
Analysing results of last spring’s Primula experiments, CD infers pollen of short-styled plants "suits" long-styled plants.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3024,” accessed on 22 February 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-3024