skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From G. E. S. Boulger   20 December [1876]1

⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ingham. | ⁠⟨⁠  ⁠⟩⁠ding.

December 20


Since in your recent work you state that you consider it desirable that Dr. Müller’s Befruchtung der Blumen should be translated into English, I beg to inform you that I, being much interested in the subject, am engaged in that task, but I thought it hardly a book likely to tempt a pu⁠⟨⁠blisher⁠⟩⁠ financially ⁠⟨⁠s⁠⟩⁠o I have ⁠⟨⁠n⁠⟩⁠ot yet asked the author’s sanction to its publication, doing it merely for my own use.2 You may also be interested in the fact that some years back I observed a great number of moths, belonging to a species of Sphinx, I believe, on a bed of Petunias, at dusk, in a garden near ⁠⟨⁠    ⁠⟩⁠.3

⁠⟨⁠I am Dear S⁠⟩⁠ir, Yrs. obediently | G S. Boulger

Charles Darwin Esqr. | F.R.S.

CD annotations

1.1 Since ... use. 1.5] crossed blue crayon


The year is established by the reference to Cross and self fertilisation, which was published in December 1876 (DAR 210.11: 6).
CD had praised Hermann Müller’s Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten und die gegenseitigen Anpassungen beider (The fertilisation of flowers by means of insects and their mutual adaptations; H. Müller 1873) and suggested it should be translated into English in Cross and self fertilisation, p. 6 n. Boulger did not publish a translation, but one was published by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson (H. Müller 1883).
In Cross and self fertilisation, p. 188, CD had mentioned a case in the United States of the fertilisation of Petunia violacea by night moths.


Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Müller, Hermann. 1873. Die Befruchtung der Blumen durch Insekten und die gegenseitigen Anpassungen beider. Ein Beitrag zur Erkenntniss des ursächlichen Zusammenhanges in der organischen Natur. Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann.

Müller, Hermann. 1883a. The fertilisation of flowers. Translated and edited by D’Arcy W. Thompson. London: Macmillan and Co.


Is engaged in translating Hermann Müller’s Befruchtung der Blumen [1873].

Has observed Sphinx moths on Petunia.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Edward Simonds Boulger
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 258
Physical description
3pp damaged †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10729,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

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