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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   3 October [1878]1

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

Oct. 3d

My dear Hooker

Will you get some one at Kew to write name of enclosed Oxalis on enclosed card.— It grows out of doors & propagates itself in garden in Surrey.2 I have seeds, & want much to know name, as the movements of the Cotyledons in genus Oxalis are marvellous.—3 I heartily hope the difficulty of your address to Royal is over, & that you are all flourishing.4

Ever yours | C. Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 4 October 1878.
The enclosure has not been found, but the name ‘O. Valdiviensis’ has been added to the top of the letter, probably in Hooker’s hand. In August 1878, CD had stayed at Leith Hill Place, Surrey, the home of his sister, Caroline Sarah Wedgwood, and her family, and at Abinger, Surrey, the home of Thomas Henry and Katherine Euphemia Farrer (CD’s ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)); he probably observed plants of Oxalis valdiviensis (Chilean yellow-sorrel) in Farrer’s garden.
CD observed movement of the cotyledons in several species of Oxalis (the genus of wood sorrels; see Movement in plants, pp. 23–7 et passim). CD’s notes on movement in cotyledons of Oxalis valdiviensis (referred to by CD as O. valdiviana), dated between 19 June and 13 November 1878, are in DAR 209.6: 154–6.
Hooker had struggled to find a subject for his presidential address at the anniversary meeting of the Royal Society of London, held on 30 November 1878 (Hooker 1878b; see letter from J. D. Hooker, 31 July 1878).


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


Wants Oxalis specimen named; is fascinated by cotyledonary movements of the genus.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 474
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 11713,” accessed on 29 November 2021,