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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   [24 March 1846]1

Down Bromley Kent


My dear Hooker

I had a letter yesterday from Ehrenberg, in which he expresses a strong wish for some specimens of the grasses from Ascension. (no doubt for comparison with the microscopical objects in the tuff)2 but they must be named else they will be useless to him. He says specimen an inch in length wd be sufficient, & I presume he does not want the inflorescene.— I will tell him that I ask you, & if you cannot supply him no one can.— I am going to write almost immediately to him & shall endeavour to send through the Geograph. Soc.—

Since last writing to you, I have finished Hilaire & found one of my queries about plants being higher & lower well discussed, though yet I do not feel quite satisfied.—3

I see he praises Moquin-Tandon’s work on Teratologie Vegetable.—4

Ever yours | C. Darwin


Dated from CD’s reference to having received the letter from C. G. Ehrenberg, 11 March 1846, which arrived at Down on 23 March (see letter to C. G. Ehrenberg, 25 March [1846]).
Probably for Ehrenberg 1846.
Saint-Hilaire 1841, pp. 791–4. The pages are heavily marked and annotated. CD commented on p. 791: ‘There is no highest, there is most modified, & by mans standard high & low. The impossibility of saying what is highest is conformable to my theory—which is highest var of cabbage or dog?’ CD recorded that he finished reading this work on 20 March 1846 (DAR 119; Vorzimmer 1977, p. 135).


Ehrenberg, Christian Gottfried. 1846. Über die vulkanischen Phytolitharien der Insel Ascension. Bericht über die zur Bekanntmachung geeigneten Verhandlungen der Königlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, pp. 191-202.

Moquin-Tandon, Horace Bénédict Alfred. 1841. Eléments de tératologie végétale, ou, histoire abrégée des anomalies de l’organisation dans les végétaux. Paris: P.-J. Loss.

Vorzimmer, Peter J. 1977. The Darwin reading notebooks (1838-1860). Journal of the History of Biology 10: 107–53.


C. G. Ehrenberg wants specimen grasses from Ascension Island.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 114: 57
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 962,” accessed on 24 September 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 3