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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   25 October [1876]1

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

Oct 25th

My dear Hooker,

If you can put following request into anyone’s hands pray do so; but if not, ignore my request, as I know how busy you are.

I want any & all plants of Hoya examined to see if any imperfect flowers, like the one enclosed can be found, & if so to send them to me per post damp.2 But I especially want them as young as possible.— They are very curious. I have examined some sent me from Abinger, but they were a month or two too old & every trace of pollen & anthers had disappeared or had never been developed. Yet a very fine pod with apparently good seed had been formed by one such flower.3

Ever yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 October 1876.
The tropical genus Hoya (the waxplant) has both ‘imperfect’ (small and unopened) and perfect flowers. CD described the floral structure of Hoya carnosa in Forms of flowers, pp. 331–2.
Abinger Hall in Surrey was the home of Thomas Henry Farrer. In Forms of flowers, pp. 331–2, CD mentioned the seed of Hoya carnosa that had formed in the specimen in Farrer’s greenhouse.


Forms of flowers: The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1877.


Asks JDH to find young imperfect flowers of Hoya. CD has observed seed set although there was no trace of anthers.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 425–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10653,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

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