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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   6 July 1871

Royal Gardens Kew

July 6 /71

Dear Darwin

It is Zizania aquatica—(Canadian Rice)1   I thought that you grew it.

I did observe that Ophrys apifera fertilized itself—as you describe—& I think also O. lutea.2

I tried for expression, but the people are too civilized—& so taciturn & unpleasant with Christians, that their features were too constrained to make anything out of.— I really believe that the Moraines are the only points in my journey worth much.; except the negative results of no Alpines on the Atlas!3

I hardly like Lyell’s travelling about & feel very anxious & dissatisfied about him. Murchison’s condition shows how much may be accomplished by real Medical skill, & I do fear that the “sisterhood” will sacrifice our dear dear friend to their bigotry— I assume that he is in the talons of the Homeopathists—4

Rosamund Lyell5 comes here on Saturday, & I will make out & let you know.

Yours | J D Hooker


See letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 July 1871, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 July [1871]. Zizania aquatica is one of the two species of wild rice that grows in Canada.
CD had probably given Hooker a copy of his Queries on expression to take to Morocco (see letter to J. D Hooker, 28 March [1871]. On the absence of alpine flora from the Atlas Mountains, see Hooker and Ball 1878, pp. 230–1.
Hooker refers to Charles Lyell (see letter from J. D. Hooker, 3 July 1871 and n. 8, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 5 July [1871]). Roderick Impey Murchison had suffered a stroke in November 1870 from which he partially recovered, but he died of bronchitis in October 1871 (ODNB).
Rosamond Frances Ann Lyell was the daughter of Lyell’s brother Henry.


ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.


He did observe that Ophrys apifera fertilised itself as CD described and O. lutea as well.

Moroccans are too civilised, taciturn, and unfriendly to make anything of them for expressions of emotions.

Moraines and negative results on Atlas alpine flora are the only points of the journey worth much.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 71–2
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 7851,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 19