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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Linnean Society, President and Council   10 May 1869

Report on Mrs Barber’s paper.

Mrs Barber’s paper seems to me worth publishing, because the dependence of the fertilization of a plant on one kind of insects alone, though not an unknown case, is very rare.1 Nor has any instance been recorded, as far as I can remember, of the access of other insects, being prevented by a mechanical obstacle requiring strength to be overcome. All the figures would of course be desirable and ornamental, but It would quite suffice to give on wood two of the adjoining flowers, one with a bee entering and one without. The outline fig 4 should also be given, as this shews better than fig 1 the contracted tube. It would be well to give the outline fig 3. if anyone can explain to the artist the structure of the fold embracing the base of the pistil, which is not clear to me.2

Charles Darwin

To the Pres. & Council of Linnean Soc.

Down. May 10th. 1869.—


CD refers to Mary Elizabeth Barber. See letter from George Bentham, 7 May 1869 and n. 4.
See Barber 1869, p. 470.


Barber, Mary Elizabeth. 1869. On the fertilization and dissemination of Duvernoia adhatodoides. [Read 15 April 1869.] Journal of the Linnean Society (Botany) 11 (1871): 469–72.


Recommends publication of Mrs Barber’s paper on a rare case of fertilisation of a plant by one kind of insect alone, with access of others prevented by a mechanical obstacle [Mary Elizabeth Barber, "On the fertilisation and dissemination of Duvernoia adhatodoides", J. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Bot.) 11 (1869): 469–72].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
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Linnean Society of London (SP.57)
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Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6740,” accessed on 23 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 17