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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   8 November [1877]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Nov. 8th

My dear Hooker

It was wonderfully good of you to send me the Cycas seeds, which were replanted instantly. I do hope the trouble which we have caused may bear some fruit: I can say truly that Frank & I are working from morning to night, & if we fail, it will not be from want of labour.2.—

It is a dreadful misfortune for me, but the Mimosa seed never arrived. I am not aware of any such loss by the post before; I suppose the label got separated. As Mimosa pudica is a common plant before long I suppose I shall be able somehow to get seeds.

Your account of Welwitschia seeds “dying by the visitation of God” made us all laugh. If you ever get more seed try watering the soil through a pipe beneath & let the little stems be surrounded by almost dry sand. I was thinking that I wd try this plan if ever I could get seeds, as Dyer told me that they rotted off at the level of the ground. It was to observe the nutation of the cotyledons & stem that I shd. so much like to have seeds..

Theodora Sedgwick is the one whom you saw in U.S: Sara is the one to be married.— I like her better even than poor Mrs Norton to whom you lost your heart. We have just seen such a charming letter from Theodora,—worthy of her name—to William.—3

Good-bye— The kindness of Kew is unbounded.

Yours | C. Darwin

I highly approve of Dana & even more of Heer.4

Litchfield arrives tonight, thank God, as we hear by Telegram.5


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 November 1877.
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 7 November 1877. CD discussed the movement of the cotyledons in Cycas pectinata in Movement in plants. Francis Darwin was assisting him with his work.
William Erasmus Darwin was engaged to Sara Sedgwick. Hooker had met her sister Theodora on his 1877 visit to the US (letter from J. D. Hooker, 19 October 1877). Susan Ridley Sedgwick Norton, the sister of Sara and Theodora, died in 1872. Theodora’s letter to William has not been found.
James Dwight Dana and Oswald Heer had been awarded medals by the Royal Society of London, of which Hooker was president.
The telegram has not been found. CD’s son-in-law, Richard Buckley Litchfield, had been taken ill in Switzerland in September 1877; see letter to J. D. Hooker, 6 November [1877] and n. 5.


Movement in plants: The power of movement in plants. By Charles Darwin. Assisted by Francis Darwin. London: John Murray. 1880.


CD and Frank working hard on cotyledonary movement.

CD suggests technique for growing Welwitschia.

Approves of J. D. Dana and of O. Heer.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 461–2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11229,” accessed on 16 September 2021,