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Darwin Correspondence Project

To T. H. Farrer   12 July 1875

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

July 12. 75

My dear Farrer

I think the experiment would be well worth trial, but it would be difficult unless D〈ro〉sera grew in some one’s park; for 〈a〉 considerable number of plants ought to be covered up very early in the season, & not fed with insects & an equal number likewise covered up & fe〈d〉; & an equal number of the 〈pla〉nts afterwards weighed, & as 〈you〉 justly observe their see〈d〉ing observed.1 I have found that they can be easily cultivated in soup plates surrounded by moss, & the only care requisite is not to give them too much water; they like a high temperature ie cool hothouse. I had a number of plates & began your experiment last summer, but unfortunately put partitions of zinc across each plate, & this seemed to kill all the plants; any how they quickly grew so unhealthy that I could draw no conclusions.

Independantly of seeding it is not improbable that the effects of animal food might be shown on the following year.

We had a letter from my son William this morning & he ends with the following words, with which I most heartily concur “we ought really to sign a round robin of thanks of the Farrers, it was so very pleasant there”2

Believe me my dear Farrer | Yours most sincerely | Ch. Darwin

P.S | I know nothing about the fertilisation of Drosera

Footnotes

See letter from T. H. Farrer, 11 July 1875. Drosera: sundew, an insectivorous plant.
William Erasmus Darwin visited Abinger Hall, Surrey, the home of Thomas Henry and Frances Euphemia Farrer, on 4 June and 3 July 1875 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)). CD was there from 3 June to 6 July 1875 (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). William’s letter has not been found.

Summary

Describes difficulty of conditions for the experiment with Drosera suggested by THF.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-10060
From
Charles Robert Darwin
To
Thomas Henry Farrer, 1st Baron Farrer
Sent from
Down
Source of text
Linnean Society of London (LS Ms 299/24)
Physical description
4pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10060,” accessed on 23 September 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-10060.xml

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23

letter