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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   1 July 1874

Royal Gardens Kew

July 1/1874

Dear Darwin

Do not bother yourself about the health of the plants— they are quite forgotten I assure you!— only if you care to have any nursed, pray send them here for your purpose, not for our’s.1

I should much like to go to Down for a Sunday— might I go on Saturday 11th if nothing prevents?2

Nepenthes I have quite given the slip to; & I do not think that Dyer ever examined the bits of eggs that I last hung in the pitchers— I am however really getting a plant up in an enclosure for special observation, where it cannot be interfered with3

I have splendid Sarracenias4 & will perform any miracle you put me up to regarding them.

I am charmed with your account of Pinguicula: & should like to try if Lychnis viscosa has the same use for its viscid fluid— which I should have guessed was to prevent insects climbing up to the Flower— but all these things now go by contraries!—5

I have written for English Utricularia for you.6

I have had a deal to do of late, & in hand so no more from

Yours ever affec | J D Hooker.


Hooker may refer to specimens of Drosophyllum lusitanicum (Portuguese sundew or dewy pine). In his letter to William Turner Thiselton-Dyer of 26 June 1874, CD mentioned that Hooker was going to try to send him another plant of Drosophyllum.
According to Emma Darwin’s diary (DAR 242), Hooker arrived at Down on Saturday 11 July 1874.
In October and November 1873, Hooker had studied the tropical pitcher-plant Nepenthes, using CD’s experimental protocol, to determine whether it could digest animal matter. Hooker had not had time to pursue the work further, but had asked Thiselton-Dyer to assist him (see letter to J. D. Hooker, 25 March [1874] and n. 12).
Sarracenia (trumpet pitchers) is a genus of North American pitcher-plants of the family Sarraceniaceae.
CD had sent his notes on Pinguicula (butterwort) to Thiselton-Dyer (see letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 28 [June 1874] and n. 4). Lychnis viscosa is a synonym of Silene viscaria (sticky catchfly or clammy campion); the sticky fluid is excreted from leaf nodes on the stem.
In his letter of 26 June 1874, CD had asked Thiselton-Dyer whether they had any species of Utricularia (bladderwort) at Kew.


Has "given the slip" to Nepenthes, but is setting a plant up in an enclosure for special observation.

Has some splendid Sarracenia and will perform any miracle regarding them CD puts him up to.

Charmed with CD’s account of Pinguicula. Would like to try whether Lychnis has the same use of viscid fluid.

Has written for English Utricularia for CD.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 200–1
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9526,” accessed on 19 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 22