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Darwin Correspondence Project

From C. S. Bate   29 November 1869

8, Mulgrave Place, | Plymouth.

Nov 29— 69

My dear Sir

Probably the enclosed may not be new information to you but I am loth to run the risk of not conveying to you that which may be of interest.

Walking in the nursery garden this afternoon I observed a smooth leaved Holly one branch of which was of the ordinary prickly kind. The Gardener assures me that there has been no graft, nor is it probable considering the position of the branch.1

He says that the branch had been cut back for the purpose of not allowing it to interfere with the pathway & that the young branch came forth in this altered variety:

Should you feel interest in the circumstance I dare say that I could obtain further information or probably supply you with the branch.

I am my dear Sir | Yours very sincerely | C. Spence Bate


CD discussed the effects of ‘bud-variation’ or sports in plants that appeared to have been grafted in Variation 1: 387–94.


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


Reports a case of a smooth-leaved holly tree with one branch of prickly leaves; is willing to supply more details.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Spence Bate
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 160: 55
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7016,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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