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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Fritz Müller   17 August 1868

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E. [Freshwater]

Aug 17— 1868

My dear Sir

I have received your letter of June 17th & am much obliged for it. I am glad that you have sent the additional discussion on the primordial form of insects & have this day forwarded it to Mr Dallas, together with your remarks on the title. I feel sure however that Murray wd object to so unusual a word as Carcinology.1 I have not heard lately what progress Mr Dallas has made. With respect to profits I fear it is a case of cooking the hare before it is caught, but I have no claim whatever to them.2 Very many thanks for the dried dimorphic flowers; they seem to offer a grand case, & whenever I come to this subject again I will see whether Hooker can name the genus.3 In a former letter you told me that you suspected that some water plant (name forgotten) was trimorphic; I shd like some time to hear about this.4 Also hereafter about Escholzia.5 Your case of the Marantaceous plant seems extremely curious & I hope you will investigate it & write a little paper on the subject.6 Thanks also for the many & curious facts about the coloured & attached seeds; such cases seem quite common with you.

I am astonished about the Wulffia; what a puzzle it is how a pappus cd have been converted into an attractive berry; that is if the calyx is the part which has been modified. 7

My health has been very indifferent for the last 2 months & I have had to stop my work on sexual selection; & have observed nothing & done nothing of late. I am writing this by the sea side, but shall return home in a few days & then I must try if I can do any thing.8

With cordial thanks for your letter which like all the others has interested me much I remain my dear Sir | yours very sincerely | Charles Darwin

If ever you form any opinion whether against or for Pangenesis, pray let me hear, as I value greatly your judgment.—9


See letter from Fritz Müller, 17 June 1868. William Sweetland Dallas was translating Müller’s Für Darwin (F. Müller 1864); John Murray was the publisher.
CD refers to Joseph Dalton Hooker. The specimens have not been identified.
CD refers to Pontederia aquatica (now Eichhornia azurea, the anchored water hyacinth; see letter from Fritz Müller, 31 October 1868). Müller discussed P. aquatica in a missing portion of an 1866 letter (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from Fritz Müller, [2 November 1866], n. 16). Müller published on Pontederia in F. Müller 1871.
Eschscholtzia californica. See letter from Fritz Müller, 17 June 1868 and n. 6.
The Darwins stayed at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight from 17 July to 20 August 1868 (Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242)).
See letter from Fritz Müller, 22 April 1868. For CD’s hypothesis of pangenesis, see Variation 2: 357–404.


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

Müller, Fritz. 1871. Ueber den Trimorphismus der Pontederien. Jenaische Zeitschrift für Medicin und Naturwissenschaft 6: 74–8.

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


FM’s additions for English edition [1869] of Für Darwin.

Dimorphic plants.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Johann Friedrich Theodor (Fritz) Müller
Sent from
Freshwater Down letterhead
Source of text
The British Library (Loan MS 10 no 25)
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6320,” accessed on 27 October 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 16