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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Charles Moore   11 August 1858

Botanic Garden, | Sydney NSW

11 Augt 1858


In consequence of being in the country at the time of the last mails leaving Sydney, I was unable to forward you the information which I had promised to send by that means.1 I now however enclose a list of the British perennial plants, which have been known to mature perfect seeds in this Colony; this list is prepared from various sources, and I cannot therefore vouch for the whole—those that have come under my own observation are marked thus (x) and on these you may rely.2 I may state that my correspondents who have furnished me with lists for this communication, reside one at Goulbourn 120 miles south of Sydney, one at Bathurst about the same distance west of Sydney, and one at Brisbane Moreton Bay nearly six hundred miles north of Sydney, whe〈re〉 however it would appe〈ar〉 very few British plants seed freely, if at all You may judge of our Sydney climate by the following list of plants now growing opposite to my own door, and in full viguor and ha〈ve〉 been for some years past, viz: diag Latania Borbonica Opuntia Tuna Magnolia grandiflora

’ pumila Bignonia venusta. this has been in beautiful flower for the last month Quercus sessiliflora 〈P〉inus Halepensis 〈C〉ratægus oxyacantha Liriodendron tulipifera Jasminum fruticansramme and others of a similar description— While however these plants grow and flower well, others again will scarcely move, such as Tilia europæa, the Gooseberry, the Red and Black Currants, the Alder Beech &c Yet all these grow well in the Bathurst and Goulbourn climates—in fact the Gooseberry and Currants fruit as well in these districts, as in England. The plants which have become weeds in this climate are the Docks (Rumex) all the Sisymbriums, Nettles, Horehound, Thistles (Onopordum) Plantagos sweetbriar, Xanthium, Malva sylvestris, Medicago lupulina and the Sowthistles. I trust although I have been so long in replying to your request, that the information now forwarded will be of service.

I am | Sir | very obedtly Yours | Charles Moore To C. Darwin Esq | &c &c &c

NB None of the more northern europæan plants grow well about Sydney the merely exist for a time CM


CD had written to Charles Moore, director of the botanic gardens in Sydney, at Joseph Dalton Hooker’s suggestion (see Correspondence vol. 6, letter from J. D. Hooker, [6 December 1857]). CD’s letter to Moore has not been found, but it probably contained the same questions about the acclimatisation of plants as the letter to Ferdinand Jakob Heinrich von Mueller, director of the botanic gardens in Melbourne (Correspondence vol. 6, letter to F. J. H. von Mueller, 8 December [1857]). CD asked Mueller whether any British or European perennials could set seed in southern Australia.
The list, dated 10 July 1858, is in DAR 171.2: 232/2. It gives the names of 95 plants which ‘flower and fruit in New South Wales’. Moore marked 79 plants with ‘x’. CD made the following note in pencil on the back of the list: The naturalised weeds do not seem to be included in this list. It seems strictly plants cultivated, except apparently several, I presume, indigenous species.— | Get N. Latitude from Benthams book or better from H. C. Watson. Cybele.— | The X means plants verified by Mr Moore | The Brisbane case is good as it shows about Latitude— see to mean temp. of year, as perennial Plants


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


Encloses a list of British perennials which seed in New South Wales and explains the source of his information. Lists plants which have become weeds in the country.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Moore
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Botanic Garden, Sydney
Source of text
DAR 171: 232
Physical description
5pp †, list 3pp ††

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2322,” accessed on 31 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7