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Darwin Correspondence Project

From L. C. Harrison to Emma Darwin   [before 1 July 1874]1

My Father looked out Pinguicula in Sowerby—2 Very likely Uncle Charles has seen the following passage, but I send it for the chance.

“Dr Johnson has observed a kind of sensibility in the flower stalks, which bend backwards if rudely handled, & that the leaves bend back & conceal the root when gathered: this latter action must have been observed in many plants by persons in the habit of transplanting, as in Primula & Drosera.”

“The leaves act like rennet upon milk: no animals care to eat them”

I am afraid it does not grow here.—


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from L. C. Harrison, [1 July 1874].
Harrison’s father was Josiah Wedgwood III. The quotation is from the second or small edition of English botany by James Edward Smith and James Sowerby (J. E. Smith and Sowerby [1832]–46, 1: 17). Pinguicula is the genus of butterworts; CD had been performing experiments to determine their digestive ability (see, for example, letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 23 June 1874).


Sends reference on Pinguicula [for CD].

Letter details

Letter no.
Lucy Caroline Wedgwood/Lucy Caroline Harrison
Emma Wedgwood/Emma Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 138

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9525,” accessed on 17 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22