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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. M. Canby   19 February 1873

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Feb 19— 1873

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged for your kind letter, & for the printed article which is fuller than the MS. that I saw before.1

I find that I erred in supposing that the leaves never opened a second time.2 I did suppose that you resided near the habitation of the Dionea, which I look at as the most wonderful plant in the world.3

If you do visit the proper district I shd be very much obliged if you wd open a dozen oldish leaves to see what sized insects they capture.

I am aware that a very minute insect wd start the leaf, but I suspect that they wd generally escape through the apertures at the bases of the spikes before they are completely interlocked.

With my best thanks, | believe me dear Sir | yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


See letter from W. M. Canby, 1 February 1873 and nn. 2 and 3. CD refers to Canby 1868.
CD had confused Canby’s home, Wilmington, Delaware, with the location of the Dionaea (Venus fly trap), Wilmington, North Carolina.


CD would like to know what were the sizes of insects caught by the older leaves of Dionaea.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Marriott Canby
Sent from
Source of text
The Society of Natural History of Delaware
Physical description
LS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8773,” accessed on 12 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21