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Darwin Correspondence Project

To P. A. Hanaford   19 September 1876

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

Sep. 19. 76

Dear Madam,

I am obliged for your kind letter, & it pleases me to hear that any of my works have interested you.1 I am glad to hear of Mr. Henderson’s intended experiment. A similar one begun by me on Drosera failed owing to an accident.2 Will you be so good as to tell Mr. Henderson that several considerations make me suspect that the good derived from an animal diet will be shown only by the production of a larger number of seeds & by the more luxuriant growth of the plants on the ensuing year.

I believe to remain | Dear Madam, | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin

P.S. I shd. much like to hear the results of Mr. H’s experiments.


Hanaford’s neighbour, Peter Henderson, was planning an experiment to test whether caught insects were of nutritional value to the insectivorous plant Dionaea muscipula (Venus fly trap; see letter from P. A. Hanaford, 3 September 1876 and n. 2). In a letter to S. B. Herrick of 6 March 1876, CD had mentioned the accidental poisoning of his plants.


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


Pleased to hear of Peter Henderson’s intended experiment [on Drosera, see 10588]. Asks that she tell Mr Henderson that he believes good derived from animal diet will be shown only by production of larger number of seeds and more luxuriant growth in the ensuing year. Wishes to hear the results.

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10610A,” accessed on 29 September 2021,

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