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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   3 July [1840]


July. 3th.—

My dear Henslow

I remember in your lecture you said monsters were sometimes curious.— We have a largish orange tree, covered with oranges & nearly all therse are annually horned, that is they have two or four projections, covered with the yellow rind, like cows horns in shape.— Many of the oranges are deeply ribbed, the number of ribs being generally seven, sometimes six or five.— It is evident the horns are the segments more perfectly separated.— I send a minute ribbed one, with one cow’s horn.— These horns branch off sometime near footstalk, sometimes near apex.— The little one does not look odd the big oranges with two good large horns look very curious.— The tree has long been without manure.— If these are curious & exemplify the metamorphoses of some organ into the fruit orange, I will get a series.— If not curious do not answer this note. If you do care much about them let me know before next Tuesday when I return to Maer..—

Ever Your’s | C. Darwin


Describes an orange tree with curious "horned" fruit; sends specimen. Asks if the horns represent "metamorphoses of some organ into the fruit orange".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 93: A5–6
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 573,” accessed on 4 December 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2