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Darwin Correspondence Project

From M. T. Masters   [before 13 December 1877]1

Gard. Chron. | 41 Wellington Street | Covent Garden

My dear Sir

I am greatly obliged to you for forwarding the interesting specimen of “self containedness” if I may coin such a word— I propose to have a figure made of it— Of course you are aware that some of the Bromeliads will flower under similar treatment  I do not know if seeds have ever been obtained in this way but it would be interesting to note their degree of vitality if produced.2

Your plant is evidently a Cotyledon of the § Echeveria—and I think it is the plant called in gardens Echeveria fulgens (see figure in Saunders’ Refugium tab 64. Vol. 1)3   I will however make further enquiries from Mr Baker who monographed the genus and will let you know the result4

With renewed thanks | faithfully yrs. | Maxwell. T. Masters

Charles Darwin Esq LLD &c

Footnotes

The date is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from M. T. Masters, [13 December 1877].
CD had sent Masters a flowering branch and evidently asked Masters to identify the species (letter to M. T. Masters, [6–12 December 1877]). Bromeliads (family Bromeliaceae) are epiphytes in their natural environment, growing on trees, stumps, and decaying branches. In his letter to Masters of [6–12 December 1877], CD described how he had suspended the cut branch of his plant in his study.
Cotyledon is a genus in the family Crassulaceae (stonecrop or orpine). Echeveria was considered a subgenus of Cotyledon by many authors, but a genus by others (see Refugium botanicum 1: Tab. 56 and preceding text). William Wilson Saunders was the editor of Refugium botanicum.
John Gilbert Baker had described the genus Cotyledon within the natural order Crassulaceae in Refugium botanicum 1: Tab. 56–72.

Bibliography

Refugium botanicum: Refugium botanicum; or, figures and descriptions from living specimens, of little known or new plants of botanical interest. Edited by William Wilson Saunders, descriptions by Heinrich Gustav Reichenbach and John Gilbert Baker. 5 vols. London: John Van Voorst. 1868–79.

Summary

Thanks CD for his specimen of "self-containedness". Some of the bromeliads will flower under similar treatment, but MTM does not know whether they seed.

Letter details

Letter no.
DCP-LETT-4888
From
Maxwell Tylden Masters
To
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Gardeners’ Chronicle
Source of text
DAR 171: 65
Physical description
4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 4888,” accessed on 31 July 2021, https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-4888.xml

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