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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Wilhelm Rimpau   16 January 1877


Jan. 16. 1877

Dear Sir,

I am very much obliged to you for having sent me your two essays which I shall read with the greatest interest.1 I am particularly surprised about Beta vulgaris; but you will find in my book that individuals of Reseda, although exposed to the same conditions, vary greatly in self-sterility: as do individuals of Eschscholtzia & Abutilon when they are exposed to changed conditions of life.2

With my best thanks | I remain, dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Charles Darwin.


CD’s annotated copies of Rimpau’s papers ‘Das Aufschießen der Runkelrüben’ (Sprouting of field beet; Rimpau 1876) and ‘Die Züchtung neuer Getreide-Varietäten’ (Cultivation of new grain varieties; Rimpau 1877a) are in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
Rimpau had observed complete self-sterility in individual flowers of Beta vulgaris (beet; Rimpau 1877a, p. 209 n.). In Cross and self fertilisation, p. 367, CD described the species as highly self-fertile. CD’s remarks on self-sterility in two species of Reseda (mignonette), Eschscholzia californica (California poppy), and Abutilon darwinii (a Brazilian species of mallow) are in ibid., pp. 340–52.


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

Rimpau, Wilhelm, 1876. Das Aufschießen der Runkelrüben. Landwirthschaftliche Jahrbücher 5: 31–45.


Thanks for essays ["Das Aufschiessen der Runkelrüben", Landwirtsch. Jahrb. Berlin 5 (1876): 31–45; "Die Züchtung neuer Getreide Varietäten", ibid 6 (1877): 193–233]. Surprised about Beta vulgaris.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Arnold Dietrich Wilhelm (Wilhelm) Rimpau
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 147: 304
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10796,” accessed on 24 September 2021,