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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   11 October [1861]


Oct 11th.

My dear Hooker

Mr Veitch most generously has sent me 2 splendid buds of Mormodes, which will be capital for dissection but I fear will never be irritable;1 so for the sake of charity & love of Heaven do, I beseech you, observe what movement takes place in Cychnodes & what part must be touched.2 Mr. V. has also sent me one splendid flower of Catasetum, the most wonderful orchid I have seen: Sowerby has made capital sketches, but I have not yet ventured to touch it.—

Did you or Oliver not tell me that your Mr Crocker3 had made some observations on movement either of Catasetum or Mormodes? They wd. be very useful to me.—

Ever yours | C. Darwin


CD mentioned in Orchids p. 265, that the nurseryman James Veitch sent him specimens of Mormodes.
See letter to J. D. Hooker, 6–7 October [1861]. On the back of the letter there are three diagrams and some notes in Hooker’s hand. These describe the slow movement of the rostellum in the orchid Miltonia and insect removal of the pollen ‘gland’ in Odontoglossum. CD included these species in his discussion of the Vandeae tribe of orchids, illustrating the response of parts of the flower to insect behaviour (Orchids, pp. 178–210). Hooker’s letter is missing, but see the letter to J. D. Hooker, 15 October [1861].
Charles William Crocker was the foreman of the propagating department at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.


Orchids: On the various contrivances by which British and foreign orchids are fertilised by insects, and on the good effects of intercrossing. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1862.


Orchid anatomy: movement in Mormodes column.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 117
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3281,” accessed on 15 June 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9