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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Henslow   15 August 1867

Adderley Rectory | Market Drayton | Salop.

Aug 15/67

My dear Sir

I have found a field here abounding in the common Genista tinctoria in full blossom & on examination of the opening buds; it appears that the keel & wings, have the same peculiarity of curling backwards by their claws on being touched as the Indigo which was growing in your Green-house; though in that instance the claws of the Alæ do not curl but only the keel.

I think of making a note of the fact, for the Linnean,1 & should much like,—if you will kindly permit me—as you did before with reference to the structure of Broom—to describe the peculiar process of the French bean, to which you called my attention when I saw you.2

Of course I am presuming it has not been described; if it has, there would be no need to do it again.

Trusting your health improves | believe me | My dear Sir | to be ever faithfully yours | George Henslow

Ch. Darwin Esq.


Henslow published his observations on Genista tinctoria in the Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) (Henslow 1868).
There is no reference to the French bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) or information from CD on its structure in Henslow 1868. Henslow had mentioned CD’s observations on Phaseolus in a paper on Medicago sativa (Henslow 1865). In a paper on Indigofera, Henslow quoted a communication from CD on the structure of the flower in the common broom, Cytisus scoparius (Henslow 1866; see also Correspondence vol. 14, letter to George Henslow, [before 19 April 1866] and n. 2). Henslow last visited Down on 2 and 3 April 1866 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Correspondence vol. 14, letter to J. D. Hooker, 4 April [1866]).


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

Henslow, George. 1865. Note on the structure of Medicago sativa, as apparently affording facilities for the intercrossing of distinct flowers. [Read 16 November 1865.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 9 (1867): 327–9.


Proposes writing a note for Linnean Society ["Note on the structure of Genista tinctoria", J. Proc. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 10 (1869): 468], in part using information CD gave him at Down.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Henslow
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Market Drayton
Source of text
DAR 166: 163
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5606,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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