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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Hermann Müller   January [1868]1


Jan⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for your kindness in having sent me your photograph which I am happy to possess.2 I would have thanked you much sooner and answered your benevolent letter if I had not had in view to send you in the same time a little memoir on some observations (mentioned to you in my letters) But just now I hear this memoir will be published only in the next months.3

Also I am obliged to you for reminding me of Delpino’s work on fertilization.4 As now I am a regular reader of the Bot. Zeitung, I have read Hildebrand’s review of it.5 Although of this matter, as far as our Westfalian plants are concerned, only few remains to extricate, I will continue to pursue it, in order to understand by which causes the various and frequently very complicated contrivances of flowers have been effected. For this purpose I will never be disgusted even of repeating chiefly the observations made by others.

⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ly I have undertaken a new subject ⁠⟨⁠of in⁠⟩⁠vestigation which I intend to ⁠⟨⁠p⁠⟩⁠ursue during several years. I have begun to transplant turfs of mosses on other places in order to state which differences in structure are effected by altered conditions of life. As sometimes I have found the last shoots of moss turfs representing a variety widely different from the older shoots of the same turfs I believe mosses more than higher organized plants apt to show the effects of altered conditions of life.6

If you wish some observations to be made by me during the next summer, I will be happy to can accomplish any of your wishes.

With the greatest respect I remain | dear Sir, yours very faithfully | H. Müller.


The year is established by the reference to H. Müller 1868 (see n. 3, below).
No letter from CD accompanying the photograph has been found; the last extant letter from CD to Müller is dated 16 August [1867] (Correspondence vol. 30, Supplement).
The reference is to H. Müller 1868, a paper on Westphalian orchids. CD’s copy of the paper is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. See Correspondence vol. 15, letters from Hermann Müller, 23 March 1867 and 1 April [1867].
No letter from CD referring to Federico Delpino has been found. CD had received two papers by Delpino in September 1867, Delpino 1867a and 1867b (see Correspondence vol. 15, letter from Federico Delpino, 5 September 1867). Both papers discussed, or alluded to, CD’s claims regarding the necessity of occasional crossing between hermaphrodite plants of the same species (see Origin, p. 96, and Orchids, p. 359). CD’s annotated copy of Delpino 1867a, with three pages of additional notes, is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL. His copy of Delpino 1867b is also in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
A three-part review of Delpino 1867b by Friedrich Hildebrand appeared in Botanische Zeitung (Hildebrand 1867b). CD’s annotated copy is in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Müller published a number of papers on mosses (Royal Society catalogue of scientific papers).


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

Müller, Hermann. 1868. Beobachtungen an westfälischen Orchideen. Verhandlungen des naturhistorischen Vereines der preussischen Rheinlande und Westphalens (Botanik) 25: 1–62.

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.

Origin: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1859.

Royal Society catalogue of scientific papers: Catalogue of scientific papers (1800–1900). Compiled and published by the Royal Society of London. 19 vols. and index (3 vols.). London: Royal Society of London. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1867–1925.


Thanks CD for his photograph.

Intends to start experimenting with mosses to determine which differences in structure are effected by altered conditions of life.

Letter details

Letter no.
Heinrich Ludwig Hermann (Hermann) Müller
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 171: 288
Physical description
2pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5770,” accessed on 24 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16