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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Abraham Clapham   8 March 1850


8th. March 50

Dear Sir,

My attention has recently been called to the very singular fact that I have obtained evergreen phloxes by impregnating the annual varieties (Drummondii) with the perennial species or seedlings—1 this fact is extremely interesting when we consider that the perennial phloxes not only drop their leaves but also that their woody stems completely die down

I shall try further experiments with the object of obtaining more definite information & remain Dr Sir | Yours very truly | A. Clapham C. Darwin Esqr. I do not wish you to understand that I profess to have raised the first phlox such as I have described for phlox depressor & several Continental varieties appear to have been obtained either by the accidental or intentional intermixture of the two species, but I am not aware that the curious result which I have named has been before observed—the same object has been attained (so far as regards the acquisition of leaves by crossing Rhododendron onto the Azalia

CD annotations

1.2 (Drummondii) … consider that 1.4] double scored pencil
Top of first page: ‘n. 2’pencil, circled pencil; ‘17’2 brown crayon


Clapham had carried out hybridisation experiments on Phlox for CD previously (see letters to Abraham Clapham, [29 October 1847?] and 10 December [1849]). CD’s interest in the nature of annual plants and the possibility of their becoming perennial or being propagated by cuttings from year to year is shown in his Questions & experiments notebook, pp. 2, 5 (Notebooks).
The number indicates that the letter was filed in one of CD’s portfolios of notes for future use. Portfolio seventeen contained notes and scraps relating to hybrids and hybridism; some of the contents are now in DAR 205.7.


Notebooks: Charles Darwin’s notebooks, 1836–1844. Geology, transmutation of species, metaphysical enquiries. Transcribed and edited by Paul H. Barrett et al. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the British Museum (Natural History). 1987.


Results of crosses in Phlox.

Letter details

Letter no.
Abraham Clapham
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 150
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1309,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 4