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Darwin Correspondence Project

From E. M. Holmes   23 October 1877

Museum Department | Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain. | 17, Bloomsbury Square, London, W.C.

Octr 23/77


I enclose for your acceptance a few seeds of 2 plants which have a very curious structure in the flower.1 I am not aware that the object of the structure has as yet been investigated. The plants are at present in flower at Kew, from whence I begged a few seeds—hoping that you might be induced to investigate the matter, in the able manner in which you have hitherto laid open the secrets of nature. Unfortunately I have neither opportunity nor ability to investigate the plants thoroughly—

The hairs on the calyx appear to contain a very acrid fluid & act as stings   The stigma is apparently thoroughly protected from its own pollen until the anthers are over when it elongates. The base of the staminodes however form a kind of lever spring so that an insect alighting on the base of a petal raise the staminodes from the pistil. The object of this arrangement is not obvious to me.

Trusting you will pardon in the interests of science the liberty I have taken in addressing you

I am Sir | Yours very truly | E. M. Holmes | (Curator)

C. Darwin Esq


These plants have not been identified.


Sends seeds of plants for CD to elucidate floral anatomy.

Letter details

Letter no.
Edward Morell Holmes
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Pharm. Soc. G.B.
Source of text
DAR 166: 255
Physical description
3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11203,” accessed on 26 October 2021,