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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. E. Darwin   [24 August 1877]1

Basset, | Southampton.


My dear Father,

I had a good chance of looking at Robbinia this morning.2 I got out within 2 minutes of a very heavy shower without wind & when it was still raining smartly, & again quarter of an hour afterwards just after another very heavy shower. The leaves were not at all depressed; but were covered with drops of water looking like quicksilver so that the tree quite glistened.

The leaves did not seem to at all wet on the parts where there were no drops of water, tho’ it had been raining so much.

The drops seemed to stick closely to the leaves and required a tolerable shake; a good shake seemed chiefly to send off a good part of each drop so as to leave the leaf spotted with much smaller drops, and did not thoroughly clean the leaves of water.

Your affect son | W. E. Darwin

P.S. The whole leaves seem to droop a little more during rain, and the leaflets seem to be flatter, but certainly do not droop below the horizontal position, except some of the tender shoots, which appear to have the leaflets continuously hanging down a little


The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter to W. E. Darwin, 20 [August 1877]. The Friday following 20 August 1877 was 24 August.
See letter to W. E. Darwin, 20 [August 1877] and nn. 2 and 3. CD was interested in the movement of leaves of Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) following heavy rain.


Action of heavy rain on the leaves of Robinia.

Letter details

Letter no.
William Erasmus Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 162: 85
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10753,” accessed on 21 September 2021,