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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. D. Hooker   23 September 1874

Royal Gardens Kew

Sept. 23/74.

Dear Darwin

I am so glad that you have cleared the way for progress with Utricularia montana, of which I shall bring one plant.1 I had examined the tubes for you some weeks ago, but quite forgot to tell you about them— They are no doubt transformed utricles, for propagation purposes perhaps, or as you suggest perhaps as reservoirs of nourishment. Oliver has figured utricles on the rhizome of a species in the Linnean Journal.2

Your finding the bladders, & subterranean ones, & insects in them, is a grand discovery, a genuine trinity to be worshipped in unity.

I am going to do a thing that no Lady dares do, in this House at any rate—it is to ask if we may bring Harriette on Saturday.3 & I do so in full faith trust & hope that Mrs Darwin will say no without scruple, if in any way inconvenient. My wife4 & I have been out so much of late, leaving Harriette in solitude, that I quite pity her— she was to have gone to Gloucestershire on Saturday, but her visit there is put-off— I would have asked Mrs Darwin to take Harriette instead of her mother— but the latter won’t give up her pleasant prospect.—

My knees knock together at so bold a request.

Ever yours affec | J D Hooker

We can get flies at Orpington.


CD had described his initial observations of the bladderwort Utricula montana and had asked Hooker to bring an additional specimen in his letters to Hooker of 18 September [1874] and [20 September 1874]). Utricula montana is a synonym of U. alpina.
CD referred to Daniel Oliver’s figure of Utricularia jamesoniana (Oliver 1859, pp. 169–70 and plate) in Insectivorous plants, p. 432 n.
Harriet Anne Hooker.
Frances Harriet Hooker.


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


CD’s Utricularia findings – bladders, subterranean roots, and insects decomposing in them – a grand discovery.

Letter details

Letter no.
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 103: 224–5
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9655,” accessed on 16 October 2021,

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