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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Margaret Susan Wedgwood   [before 4 August 1862]1

The Manor | Llandudno

Dear Uncle Charles

Of 256 specimens of Lythrum gathered this morning from different plants, we find

94 with long pistil

95 — middle length pistil

69 — shortest pistil.

These plants were all in one large field or near it but tomorrow we will go if we can manage it in a different direction for more—2 We find it rather difficult in gathering to know what are distinct plants and what only offsets. At Criccieth & Aber we thought the different sorts usually grew in plots together mixed with a few of the others but here they are all together. We have found the Hottonia, and find the pistils of different lengths as I think you told us.3

Your affec niece | M. S. Wedgwood

CD annotations

2.2 We find … niece 3.1] crossed pencil
Top of letter: ‘Aug 4th 1862’


Dated by CD’s annotation, and by reference to CD’s reply to this letter (letter to K. E. S., L. C., and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862]).
CD wanted to know the proportions of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria in different localities (see, for example, the letter to W. E. Darwin, [2–3 August 1862]), and had evidently asked his nieces, Katherine Elizabeth Sophy, Margaret Susan, and Lucy Caroline Wedgwood, to examine specimens during their visit to North Wales. Margaret provided a further tally of the three forms in the letter from M. S. Wedgwood, [6 August 1862]; CD quoted the totals in ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria, p. 174 (Collected papers 2: 110).
CD had learned from Charles Cardale Babington that Hottonia was dimorphic, and was anxious to see specimens (see letter from C. C. Babington, 17 January 1862, and letter to C. C. Babington, 20 January [1862]). See also letter to K. E. S., L. C., and M. S. Wedgwood, 4 [August 1862], and letter from M. S. Wedgwood, [6 August 1862].


Collected papers: The collected papers of Charles Darwin. Edited by Paul H. Barrett. 2 vols. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. 1977.

‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria’: On the sexual relations of the three forms of Lythrum salicaria. By Charles Darwin. [Read 16 June 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 169–96. [Collected papers 2: 106–31.]


Proportions of different forms of Lythrum.

Letter details

Letter no.
Margaret Susan Wedgwood/Margaret Susan Vaughan Williams
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 181
Physical description
2pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 3681,” accessed on 25 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 10