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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lindley   24 December [1861]1

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Dec. 24th

My dear Lindley

I did not thank you for your two very kind notes until I heard from Hooker.2 All that he knows about Acropera luteola is that he “believes it was received under that name from Loddiges”.3 In structure it closely resembles A. Loddigesii, but is very different in colour, being all yellow. I enclose a mutilated specimen.—

The evidence from the rudimentary state of the ovules, & from the entrance into the stigmatic cavity being so contracted that the pollen-masses can rarely be inserted, & from other lesser reasons, seems sufficient to show that the Kew plant is a Male. Judging only from the contracted stigmatic cavity A. Loddigesii must be also a male.—4 I fear there is no chance of your recognising the mutilated fragment in Spirits. I begged Hooker to send me a dried Gongora flower that I might see whether that is (according to your suggestion) the Female, as far as the state of the pollen would show; but he does not say he will, but I hope he intends to do so.—5 I had no intention to be so troublesome to you; for I had not the most remote idea, but what A. luteola was a well-known name.

With cordial thanks | Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin


The year is given by the relationship to the letter to J. D. Hooker, 18 [December 1861], and by the reference to CD’s study of orchids.
The letters from Lindley have not been found. Lindley had questioned the name of a species of Acropera sent to CD from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; CD forwarded Lindley’s letter to Joseph Dalton Hooker (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 20 [November 1861]).
The letter from Hooker has not been found. The Loddiges family had run a nursery in Hackney, London, since 1771. The nursery was currently in the hands of Conrad Loddiges, grandson of the founder. See also letter to J. D. Hooker, 6–7 October [1861].


Delayed thanking JL for two notes until he heard from Hooker about Acropera luteola; had no idea A. luteola was not a well-known name.

Cites his reasons for identifying A. loddigesii as male; hopes for a Gongora flower from Hooker which, JL suggested, may be the female.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lindley
Sent from
Source of text
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (Lindley letters, A–K: 199)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3350,” accessed on 16 August 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 9