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Darwin Correspondence Project

From H. M. Wilkinson   5 August 1874

Bisterne | Parsonage | Ringwood

Dear Professor Darwin.

I and a young man named Corbin who is a devoted Naturalist have made a number of experiments on the Utricularia in the manner you requested, and we conclude that the bladders are in no uniform position in the water.1 We examined them as they floated in their natural position and the valve is turned in various directions.

We then examined them with regard to their age and here again we could find no uniform position— In the younger stage of growth however they were more usually with the narrow valve turned upwards,


in mid-growth (when the air bubble seems most conspicuous) they are generally flat


and later on hedgehog-like


turned downwards, but I do not think these positions are uniform—

I send you some plants of Utricularia, some smaller ones I got from clearer water and they were partially sunk into the mud.2

I am however afraid that they will have been too much injured by being out of the water to be of much use to you.

Your’s very truly | H. M. Wilkinson

Augt. 5. 1874.

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘(Utricularia) | (Keep)’ pencil
End of letter: ‘From J. Price’s observations flotation can only be a secondary service to the plant!’3 pencil


Wilkinson refers to George Bentley Corbin. CD cited Wilkinson for his observations on Utricularia (bladderwort) in Insectivorous plants, p. 398.
CD thanked Wilkinson for sending him specimens of Utricularia in Insectivorous plants, p. 395 n.


Insectivorous plants. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1875.


Reports his observations of Utricularia [in their natural state] as CD requested.

Letter details

Letter no.
Henry Marlow Wilkinson
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 58.1: 84–5
Physical description
3pp †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9586,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

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