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Darwin Correspondence Project

To W. W. Baxter   16 July [1872?]1

Please send me a very small Pot of your purest & best Extract of Hyosciamus for experimental purposes—2 I want it as soon as possible.

Ch. Darwin

Down | July 16th


The year is conjectured from the reference to extract of Hyoscyamus (the genus of henbanes); CD used this in experiments on Drosera that he began on 23 August 1872 (Correspondence vol. 20, Appendix II). Drosera is the genus of sundews.
Baxter, a dispensing chemist in Bromley, Kent, often supplied CD with chemicals for his experiments. Although CD had experimented on Drosera with poisons in the early 1860s, he had used only tincture of henbane in his earlier work (see Correspondence vol. 9, letter to W. W. Baxter, 22 January 1861). The experiments described by CD in Insectivorous plants, pp. 84, 206, were done with a powdered extract of Hyoscyamus that he prepared in solution himself, thus ensuring greater accuracy.


Orders a very small pot of "purest & best Extract of Hyosciamus for experimental purposes".

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
William Walmisley Baxter
Sent from
Source of text
Bromley Historic Collections, Bromley Central Library (Baxter Collection, 1136/1)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7280,” accessed on 21 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 24 (Supplement)