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Darwin Correspondence Project

To Alphonse de Candolle   11 October 1869

Down. | Beckenham | Kent. S.E.

Oct 11 1869

My dear Sir

I am very much obliged for yr extremely interesting letter. Your experiment strikes me as a very valuable & simple one,—so simple that now that it has been once suggested, I am surprized that no one ever thought of trying it before.1 Nägeli, indeed, in one of his recent essays complains that no one has made this experiment with Alpine & lowland forms of the same species.2 I forwarded your letter to Dr Hooker, who seems very glad to have the opportunity of making the trial.3 As I shall have many experiments in progress next spring, which cannot be deferred, & as I have little strength to spare, I believe it would be the wisest plan to send all the seeds to Kew.4 But I will open some of the packets & see how many seeds there are, so that if numerous I will try a few myself— I will not however sow them till the spring, for I have lately had some experience in raising during the winter hardy annuals in my greenhouses, & I find that they become much drawn up—

With my best thanks for your kindness & the most sincere respect, I remain | My dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


CD refers to Carl Wilhelm von Nägeli’s remarks in a paper on varieties of Hieracium pilosella (mouse ear hawkweed; see Nägeli 1867, p. 478).
See letters to J. D. Hooker, 2 October [1869] and 11 October 1869.
CD probably refers to his experimental work on the comparative growth of plants raised from seeds of cross and self fertilised parents (see Correspondence vol. 18, letter to T. H. Farrer, 28 May [1870]).


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

Nägeli, Carl Wilhelm von. 1867. Die Piloselliformia. [Read 4 May 1867.] Sitzungsberichte der königlichen Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München 1: 450–78.


Thanks AdeC for his interesting letter [6915]. The experiment strikes CD as a very valuable one. CD has forwarded the letter to Hooker, who is glad to make the trial. CD will have many experiments in progress next spring but he will open the packet of seeds and if they are numerous, will try a few himself.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Alphonse de Candolle
Sent from
Source of text
Archives de la famille de Candolle (private collection)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6933,” accessed on 21 October 2021,

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