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Darwin Correspondence Project

To George King   20 November 1874

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

November 20th./74

My dear Sir

I am going to beg a favour of you.— I have been examining Aldrovandra vesiculosa & am very anxious to see a Bengal specimen, collected from a state of nature,—that is not grown in an aquarium in order to find whether the leaves there capture Crustaceans & insects as in Germany.1 If you have any dried specimens & could spare me a single stem, I shd. be greatly obliged if you would send me one in a letter, as soon as you can, as in this case it wd. probably be in time for a book which I am preparing for press on insect-catching plants.—2 I hope that you are well & all things at the Botanic Garden flourishing

My dear Sir | Yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin

I have not had time of late to go on about worms, but intend some day to complete my notes.—3


King, superintendent of the Royal Botanic Garden, Calcutta, was in a position to obtain Bengal specimens of the aquatic insectivorous plant Aldrovanda vesiculosa (the waterwheel plant). In Insectivorous plants, pp. 321–2, CD described the living specimens of A. vesiculosa he had received from Germany.
Insectivorous plants was published on 2 July 1875 (Freeman 1977).
CD’s earlier correspondence with King had been about worms (see Correspondence vol. 20, letters to George King, 28 October 1872 and November 1872; Correspondence vol. 21, letter to George King, 18 February 1873). King’s observations and the specimens of worms and casts that he had sent to CD were discussed in Earthworms, pp. 5, 106–8, 117, 126–8, 161–3, 168, 274–8, 281, 285; Earthworms was published in 1881.


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

Earthworms: The formation of vegetable mould through the action of worms: with observations on their habits. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1881.

Freeman, Richard Broke. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d edition. Folkestone, Kent: William Dawson & Sons. Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, Shoe String Press.

Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Asks for specimen of Aldrovanda for book on insect-eating plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
George King
Sent from
Source of text
Lieutenant-Colonel James Innes (private collection); sold by Bonhams (dealers), 13 March 2002
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9726,” accessed on 31 October 2020,

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