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Darwin Correspondence Project

From T. B. Blow   15 January 1876

Welwyn. | Herts

Jany 15 1876

Dear Sir,

In this County I have never noticed Convolvulus arvensis1 in Fruit till this last autumn and as the circumstances under which it fruited were peculiar I thought you might like to hear of it.

A cutting was made at Welwyn station to enable carts &c to get alongside a certain siding.

On the edge of the cutting and where its roots were cut through Con. arvensis produced perfect seeds freely.2

This case alone I should not have thought much of but when in Surrey a few weeks ago with a friend I looked at Con. arvensis to see if I could see fruit. 〈    〉 remarked, “You wont find that in Fruit   I never saw it but once and that on the edge of a bank where its roots had been cut and the plant in danger of extermination”

I believe it fruits in places near the sea   in fact I saw specimens collected in Kent last autumn but did not enquire whether it grew in a sandy place where its roots could 〈n〉ot obtain much hold to enable the plant, to keep its ground.

Believe me | Yours truly | Thomas B. Blow

Chas Darwin. Esqr.


Field bindweed.
Bindweeds propagate vegetatively by means of lateral roots, but also produce fruit when insect pollinators are present. Flowers from the same plant are self-incompatible.


Reports on the tendency of the normally fruitless Convolvulus arvensis, to form fruit when roots are cut and plant is in danger of dying.

Letter details

Letter no.
Thomas Bates Blow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 201
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10359,” accessed on 18 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24