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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Henslow   [after 19 April 1866]1

10 Sth Crescent | Bedford Sq | W.C.

Dear Mr Darwin

Many thanks for your letter.2 I have got the Botanische Zeitung from the Linn: Soc: & mean to get a friend to translate it to me. It is a bother Dr Hildebrand hitting on the very same thing! I however read my note upon the structure of Indigoferae at last meeting of Soc: Linn: & called attention, at the same time, to Dr Hildebrands paper.3

I am glad to say the Governors of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital have withdrawn their restriction & have elected me their Botanical Lecturer at last!4 So I begin my duties in May.—

Thanks for explanation about Primula. 5 I see that 2d & 3d column of Table II brings out the difference more palpably. viz: that of the total No. of pods produced & of good Pods.

homo ( 5 ): Hetero ( 14 )

( 6 ) ( 11 )—6

Have you ever noticed a sort of intermediate form? viz: stamens low down, but stigma only slightly above them, with the Corolla generally larger? as in enclosed.—7

Yrs very truly | G Henslow


The date is established by the reference to Henslow 1866a (see n. 3, below).
See letter to George Henslow, 16 April [1866] and n. 2. Henslow discussed Friedrich Hildebrand’s article on pollination mechanisms in Indigofera and other plants (Hildebrand 1866a) in his paper read at the Linnean Society on 19 April 1866 (Henslow 1866a).
Henslow may refer to the requirement that members of staff of St Bartholomew’s Hospital serve a medical apprenticeship (see Medvei and Thornton eds. 1974, p. 265).
CD’s explanation has not been found; see, however, the letter from George Henslow, 7 April 1866 and n. 5. Henslow refers to CD’s calculations of the weight of seeds in pods of Primula veris in ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’.
The figures are taken from table II in ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’, p. 89, and show, in the first and second columns, respectively, the number of ‘good pods’ produced in homomorphic and heteromorphic crosses of Primula veris. The upper row shows the results for long-styled flowers, and the lower row for short-styled (Collected papers 2: 56).
In addition to the long-styled and short-styled forms of Primula sinensis, CD had been experimenting with ‘equal-styled’ specimens since 1862. CD concluded that these specimens were variations of the long-styled form, and not a third, distinct form. See Correspondence vol. 10 and ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, pp. 414–18. His notes are in DAR 108: 29, 38v., 56–66, 85–7, 134–5. He also carried out experiments with an equal-styled variety of P. veris that had been described by John Scott (see Correspondence vol. 11, letter to John Scott, 1 and 3 August [1863] and n. 13). See also ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, pp. 426–30, Forms of flowers, pp. 234–8, and Variation 2: 109 n. See also Correspondence vol. 12.


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

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.

‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’: On the character and hybrid-like nature of the offspring from the illegitimate unions of dimorphic and trimorphic plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 20 February 1868.] Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 10 (1869): 393–437.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Thanks for explanation on relative fertility of homostyled and heterostyled crosses in Primula. Sends an intermediate form with small stamens, but stigma only slightly above stamens.

Election as Botanical Lecturer at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, South Crescent, 10
Source of text
DAR 166: 160
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5044,” accessed on 23 October 2020,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 14