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Darwin Correspondence Project

To William Ogle   17 August 1878

[Barlaston Hall, Staffordshire]

My dear Dr. Ogle,—

I am extremely glad to hear that you have undertaken to edit Kerner’s work on Flowers and their Unbidden Guests; for it opens out a highly original and curious field of research.1 It is possible that some of Kerner’s generalisations may hereafter require to be slightly modified; but I feel sure that every remark which he has made well deserves careful consideration.2 The beauty and poetry of flowers will not be at all lessened to the general observer, by his being led through Kerner’s investigation to notice various small, and apparently quite unimportant, details of structure,—such as the presence of differently directed hairs, viscid glands, etc., which prevent the access of certain insects, and not of others. He will, I believe, come to the conclusion that flowers are not only delightful from their beauty and fragrance, but display most wonderful adaptations for various purposes. I cordially wish that your translation may find many readers, not so much for your sake as for theirs.

Believe me very faithfully yours | Charles Darwin.

Down, Beckenham, Kent, | August 17, 1878.


The translation of Anton Kerner’s work ‘Die Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste’ (The protective measures of flowers against uninvited guests; Kerner 1876) appeared as Flowers and their unbidden guests; the translation was revised and edited by Ogle (Ogle trans. 1878).
A draft of this letter in DAR 202: 74 contains the following additional sentence at this point: ‘As you have attended to the allied subject of the fertilisation of flowers through the agency of insects, I hope that you may induced to append some notes to this fine work’.


Kerner, Anton. 1876. Die Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste. In Festschrift der K. K. Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien. Vienna: K. K. Zoologisch-Botanische Gesellschaft; Braumüller.


Is glad WO is undertaking the editing of Anton Kerner’s book [Schutzmittel der Blüthen gegen unberufene Gäste (1876)], which appears to open out "highly original & curious fields of research". [Used as prefatory letter to Kerner, Flowers and their unbidden guests, The translation revised and edited by W. Ogle (1878).]

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Ogle
Sent from
Source of text
Ogle trans. 1878, pp. v–vi
Physical description
Printed & AdraftS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11666,” accessed on 22 September 2021,