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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker1   [June 1857]2

Any account of Flora of Marianne Islds in N.W. Pacific. or of Bonin Islds. 3

Any account of Greenland Flora some Danish Man.—4

In Cnestis & Connaris, Brown5 says differ in the species of, having one or more ovaria, in existence & absence of albumen, in æstivation of Calyx. Are any of these points slightly variable in the individuals of the same species.6


These queries are bound together with another list of questions for Hooker. In the letter to J. D. Hooker, 20 October [1857], CD stated that he had been collecting questions to ask Hooker during some future visit to Down: these questions may be those referred to, or some of them. The second set of questions is transcribed following the letter to J. D. Hooker, 20 October [1857].
The final question in this memorandum is related to a point discussed by CD in the letters to J. D. Hooker, 16 [May 1857] and 3 June [1857]. The chapter of CD’s species book in which the topic is discussed was completed on 5 July 1857 (‘Journal’; see Correspondence vol. 6, Appendix II).
The Marianne and Bonin Islands, off the east coast of Japan, had been visited in 1853 by Matthew Calbraith Perry. Hooker, who had worked on the flora of a neighbouring Pacific island in 1857 (J. D. Hooker 1857), would presumably have known whether any botanical studies of the area had been recently published. CD did not, however, refer to any such work in Natural selection.
Probably Lange 1857.
Robert Brown.
CD had previously asked Hooker to comment on the proposition that a characteristic that is particularly developed in any species is apt to be highly variable (letter to J. D. Hooker, 16 [May 1857]). See also letters to J. D. Hooker, 3 June [1857] and 5 June [1857], in which CD expressed his surprise that examples could not be found in plants. The subject is discussed in Natural selection, pp. 307–11. CD cited Hooker’s opinion that plants were altogether too variable for the phenomenon to be apparent (ibid., p. 308).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Lange, Johan Martin Christian. 1857. Oversigt over Graennlands planter. Vol. 2, Appendix 6, pp. 106–35, of Rink, Hinrich Johannes, Grae9nnland, geographisk og statistik beskrevet. 2 vols. Copenhagen.

Natural selection: Charles Darwin’s Natural selection: being the second part of his big species book written from 1856 to 1858. Edited by R. C. Stauffer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1975.


Request for Floras of Pacific Islands and Greenland.

Individual variation.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 222b

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2198,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 6