More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2

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Author: Charles Darwin

Letter 676. To F. Muller. Down, April 22nd [1867].

I am very sorry your papers on climbing plants never reached you. They must be lost, but I put the stamps on myself and I am sure they were right. I despatched on the 20th all the remaining copies, except one for myself. Your letter of March 4th contained much interesting matter, but I have to say this of all your letters. I am particularly glad to hear that Oncidium flexuosum (676/1. See "Animals and Plants," Edition II., Volume II., page 114. Observations on Oncidium were made by John Scott, and in Brazil by F. Muller, who "fertilised above one hundred flowers of the above-mentioned Oncidium flexuosum, which is there endemic, with its own pollen, and with that taken from distinct plants: all the former were sterile, whilst those fertilised by pollen from any OTHER PLANT of the same species were fertile.’) is endemic, for I always thought that the cases of selfsterility with orchids in hot-houses might have been caused by their unnatural conditions. I am glad, also, to hear of the other analogous cases, all of which I will give briefly in my book that is now printing. The lessened number of good seeds in the self-fertilising Epidendrums is to a certain extent a new case. You suggest the comparison of the growth of plants produced from self-fertilised and crossed seeds. I began this work last autumn, and the result, in some cases, has been very striking; but only, as far as I can yet judge, with exotic plants which do not get freely crossed by insects in this country. In some of these cases it is really a wonderful physiological fact to see the difference of growth in the plants produced from self-fertilised and crossed seeds, both produced by the same parent-plant; the pollen which has been used for the cross having been taken from a distinct plant that grew in the same flower-pot. Many thanks for the dimorphic Rubiaceous plant. Three of your Plumbagos have germinated, but not as yet any of the Lobelias. Have you ever thought of publishing a work which might contain miscellaneous observations on all branches of Natural History, with a short description of the country and of any excursions which you might take? I feel certain that you might make a very valuable and interesting book, for every one of your letters is so full of good observations. Such books, for instance Bates’ "Travels on the Amazons," are very popular in England. I will give your obliging offer about Brazilian plants to Dr. Hooker, who was to have come here to-day, but has failed. He is an excellent good fellow, as well as naturalist. He has lately published a pamphlet, which I think you would like to read; and I will try and get a copy and send you. (676/2. Sir J.D. Hooker’s lecture on Insular Floras, given before the British Association in August, 1866, is doubtless referred to. It appeared in the "Gardeners’ Chronicle," and was published as a pamphlet in January, 1867. This fact helps to fix the date of the present letter.)

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Chicago: Charles Darwin, "Letter 676. To F. Muller. Down, April 22nd [1867].," More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, ed. Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941 and trans. Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866 in More Letters of Charles Darwin Original Sources, accessed October 2, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AHX4VFRVZHGQY2.

MLA: Darwin, Charles. "Letter 676. To F. Muller. Down, April 22nd [1867]." More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, edited by Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925 and Seward, A. C. (Albert Charles), 1863-1941, and translated by Babington, B. G. (Benjamin Guy), 1794-1866, in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, Original Sources. 2 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AHX4VFRVZHGQY2.

Harvard: Darwin, C, 'Letter 676. To F. Muller. Down, April 22nd [1867].' in More Letters of Charles Darwin, Vol. 2, ed. and trans. . cited in , More Letters of Charles Darwin. Original Sources, retrieved 2 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4AHX4VFRVZHGQY2.