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Darwin Correspondence Project

From Richard Trevor Clarke   25 November [1864]1

Dear Mr Darwin

I made a curious observation this season in the matter of Genus Gossypium while studying the plant to get up my little lecture affair— —2

G. Acuminatum was allowed its stand as species from the curious agglomeration of its seeds. I have long thought that the Sea Island 〈two-thirds of line missing〉 〈t〉errible 〈one-third of line missing〉 G. Acum: than 〈one or two words missing〉 Barbadian type.3 and this season one of my Sea Island plants bore the seeds, adherent in pairs, which I enclose, on three different pods. A lobe of Acuminatum seed and a lobe of Sea Island are enclosed with this to show the similarity (wanting the adherence) between the two.

Please send me back the twin seeds   I want to see if this habit will be reproduced or perhaps a further approximation induced.

Keep one specimen if you will

Very truly yrs | R Trevor Clarke

Dele the axial hautbois stem observation for the present.4

Welton Place | Near Daventry

Novr 25


The year is established by the reference to the lecture on Gossypium (see n. 2, below).
Clarke gave a lecture at the Royal Horticultural Society on 8 November 1864 on the cultivation of cotton, or the genus Gossypium (see Gardeners’ Chronicle 1864, pp. 1085–7).
According to Clarke, Sea Island cotton is the form taken by Gossypium barbadense when the plant is grown in a warm, moist climate; he describes the Sea Island plant as very like G. acuminatum except in stature (see Gardeners’ Chronicle 1864, p. 1086).
In response to CD’s letter in the Journal of Horticulture, [before 25 November 1862] (Correspondence vol. 10), Clarke had supplied specimens of the hautbois strawberry for CD’s work on Variation (see Correspondence vol. 10, letters from R. T. Clarke, [after 25 November 1862] and [after 27 November 1862]). CD cited Clarke’s observations on the crossing of hautbois with other varieties of strawberry in Variation 1: 352.


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

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Observations on Gossypium varieties.

Letter details

Letter no.
Richard Trevor Clarke
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 165
Physical description
3pp damaged

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4681,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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