skip to content

Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. T. Moggridge   29 May [1867]1

34 Eastbourne Terr: | Paddington | W.

May 29

Dear Mr. Darwin

On receipt of your letter I wrote to Dr. Bornet to say that though his kind offer seeds of Draba was very tempting to you, yet on account of press of work you were obliged to decline with thanks.—2

Yesterday I received a letter containing the following passage:

“Since Mr. Darwin might be interested by recieving seeds of Draba, I shall send him some as soon as the seed-harvest is completed. If he cannot make use of them this year, he may next. Besides, the mode of cultivation is most easy. The seeds are sown in pots in August & the pots buried in earth almost to the level of the ground— The seeds develop fine rosettes of leaves & open their flowers in the first fine days of the following spring—

Thus Mr. Darwin might have time to complete his present work.”—

I write this to exculpate myself, & to make it clear that I am not responsible for your recieving seeds of Draba against your will.—

Dr. Bornet tells me now that Indigofera does not always throw off its wings as I described but that they fall readily with the keel after the emission of pollen.—3

This is very similar to what happens in Genista & Sarothamnus— I was misled by watching the artificial treatment of the flowers.

Yrs. Very sincerely | J. Traherne Moggridge.

CD annotations

1.1 On … thanks.— 1.3] crossed pencil
5.1 I write … flowers. 7.2] crossed pencil
Top of letter: ‘Drabapencil


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from Edouard Bornet, [before 20 August 1867].
Neither CD’s letter to Moggridge, nor a letter from Moggridge mentioning Bornet’s offer, has been found in the Darwin Archive–CUL. Bornet had sent CD seeds of Papaver in 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to Edouard Bornet, 1 December 1866). See also letter from Edouard Bornet, [before 20 August 1867], and letter to Edouard Bornet, 20 August [1867].
No letter on this subject from Moggridge has been found; however, CD and George Henslow discussed the ‘curious movements’ of Indigofera in 1866 (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter to George Henslow, 16 April [1866], and letter to Friedrich Hildebrand, 20 April [1866]).


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


Wrote to J. B. E. Bornet on CD’s behalf, declining the offer of seeds of Draba. But now Bornet writes that he is sending seeds to CD anyway [see 5592].

Corrects his previous description of the fertilisation of Indigofera.

Letter details

Letter no.
John Traherne Moggridge
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Eastbourne Terrace, Paddington, 34
Source of text
DAR 157a: 101
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5555A,” accessed on 22 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15