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Darwin Correspondence Project

From W. C. Williamson   23 October 1877


Oct. 23/77

My Dear Sir

I am sorry that my first experiment failed—but I have now enclosed three young plants in a glass tube in a metal case—& inside a wooden box.1 And as I have plugged one end of the tube with some wet cotton-wool I think you will get them in a state in which you can put them under the Microscope. I am anxious you should see them for the identical reason you mention—viz that they seem so strongly to indicate some genetic affinity with D. rotundifolia2

The hairs may have lost some of their prominence when they reach you. As growing they look very lovely little objects—and though none of mine have yet developed a second leaf of the plumule3 lots of them have already caught insects. Beginning the business of life early!! You will of course see that the Cotyledons have no hairs—

I am my Dear Sir | ever yours | W. C. Williamson

CD annotations

0.1 Fallowfield] ‘Manchester’ ink
End of letter: ‘5 Exterior tentacles—& 7 on disc, which is rounded or star-shaped. Very pretty object.’ ink


Williamson had previously sent specimens of Drosera spathulata (Australian sundew), but they had been damaged in transit (see letter to W. C. Williamson, 22 October [1877]).
‘Genetic’ in this context refers to a direct genealogical link. Williamson had pointed out the resemblance between the first leaves of Drosera spathulata and those of D. rotundifolia (common or round-leaved sundew). See letter to W. C. Williamson, 22 October [1877].
The plumule is the primary shoot or leafbud of the embryo.


Sends plant specimens for CD’s examination for genetic affinity with Drosera rotundifolia

Letter details

Letter no.
William Crawford Williamson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 86: B14–15
Physical description
4pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11201,” accessed on 26 September 2021,