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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   25 April [1864]


April— 25th

My dear Hooker

It was very good of you to waste so much time in writing to me about Scott.1 I have written to him not to think of Kew,2 & have advised him to grapple with the difficulties of life, as you advised.— I presume that Scott wished to come to Kew merely as a gardener: anyhow do not for a moment suppose that I ever even hinted to him about my former scheme; I never thought more about it, after your former letter.3 I cannot but think you take a rather hard view of his character; but I will not argue or say another word on subject: I have caused you most unreasonable trouble about him. He has interested me strongly, & I have formed a very high opinion of his intellect. I hope he will at least accept temporary pecuniary assistance from me; but he has hitherto refused.4 Again I thank you most sincerely for all the trouble you have taken.—

You have put me on a capital scent for getting Leersia: I will soon write to Mr Bennett; very many thanks: I must make some sort of tank.—5

I am heartily sorry in every way about Dr Crüger’s death; he promised to make many curious observations.—6

I keep going on very well, though weak; I amuse myself with little observations on odds & ends. Some cowslips have just flowered which give a pretty proof of difference of power of so-called by me homomorphic & heteromorphic pollen:7 I fertilised some cowslips with own-form pollen & 24 hours afterwards put on some polyanthus pollen; & now 29 of the seedlings have flowered & every one is red, showing that all have been crossed by polyanthus & not one is true cowslip.—8 Whenever you write, (but that must not be soon) tell me a little what you are chiefly doing in science.—

I have been reading up some old numbers of Nat. Hist. R:9 what an admirable periodical it is.

Farewell my good friend | C. Darwin


Hooker’s letter of 20 April 1864 was largely concerned with John Scott and his future.
In his letter to John Scott, 9 April 1864, CD wrote that Hooker would not be able to get Scott a foreign appointment; he did not refer to Scott’s interest in working at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A letter replying to Scott’s letter of 14 April [1864] has not been found.
CD refers to his suggestion of Scott acquiring a position at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, that would be funded by CD and include the opportunity to carry out his own experiments (see letter to J. D. Hooker, [1 April 1864]). Hooker discouraged this idea in his letter of [2 April 1864]; see also Hooker’s letters of [4 April 1864], 6 April 1864, and 8 April 1864.
CD refers to the aquatic cut-grass, Leersia, and to William Bennett (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 April 1864 and nn. 14–16).
See letter from J. D. Hooker, 20 April 1864 and n. 11. CD had corresponded with Hermann Crüger during 1863 (see Correspondence vol. 11) and his last letter from Crüger was dated 21 January 1864; in February 1864, CD had communicated Crüger 1864 to the Linnean Society (see letter from Daniel Oliver, 18 February 1864).
CD first defined a homomorphic union as a union between the same forms of a dimorphic plant, and a heteromorphic union as a union between a long-styled form and a short-styled form, in ‘Dimorphic condition in Primula, p. 87 (Collected papers 2: 55).
CD had been making various crosses between yellow cowslips (Primula veris) and polyanthuses, which he believed were a variety of cowslip, since 1861 (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to Daniel Oliver, 23 March [1861]). CD described this experiment, performed with the pollen of short-styled dark-red polyanthus placed on long-styled cowslip flowers, in ‘Three forms of Lythrum salicaria, p. 187 (Collected papers 2: 121–2); see also DAR 27.2: A35–6. CD also discussed this experiment, which he thought illustrated the prepotency of the heteromorphic polyanthus pollen, in Origin 4th ed., p. 321, ‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’, pp. 432–3, and Cross and self fertilisation, p. 396. CD made a number of different crosses between cowslips and polyanthus in the spring of 1864 (see notes in DAR 108: 71, 148–156, 159, 162, 169 v.).
The Natural History Review was now in its fourth year of publication. CD’s annotated, unbound copies of the Natural History Review, including the 1864 issues, are in the Darwin Library–CUL.


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

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

Cross and self fertilisation: The effects of cross and self fertilisation in the vegetable kingdom. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1876.

Crüger, Hermann. 1864. A few notes on the fecundation of orchids and their morphology. [Read 3 March 1864.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 8 (1865): 127–35.

‘Dimorphic condition in Primula’: On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. By Charles Darwin. [Read 21 November 1861.] Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society (Botany) 6 (1862): 77–96. [Collected papers 2: 45–63.]

‘Illegitimate offspring of dimorphic and trimorphic plants’: On the character and hybrid-like nature of the offspring from the illegitimate unions of dimorphic and trimorphic plants. By Charles Darwin. [Read 20 February 1868.] Journal of the Linnean Society of London (Botany) 10 (1869): 393–437.

Origin 4th ed.: On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. 4th edition, with additions and corrections. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1866.

‘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.]


CD thinks JDH takes a hard view of Scott’s character, but will not argue further.


Working on homomorphic and heteromorphic crosses in Primula.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 115: 231
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4471,” accessed on 20 January 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 12