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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   30 [September 1874]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.


My dear H.

Your magnificent present of Aldrovanda has arrived quite safe.2 I have enjoyed greatly a good look at the shut leaves, one of which I cut open. It is an aquatic Dionæa, which has acquired some structures identical with those of Utricularia!3

If the leaves open, & I can transfer them open under the microscope I will try some experiments, for mortal man cannot resist the tempation.— If I cannot transfer, I will do nothing, for otherwise it wd require hundreds of leaves.—

You are a good man to give me such pleasure

Yours affect | C. Darwin

Pray thank Oliver very much for his paper; they seem marvellous little bladders & unlike those which I have examined.4


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 September 1874.
CD described the waterwheel plant, Aldrovanda vesiculosa, as a ‘miniature aquatic Dionaea’, with projections resembling the bladders of Utricularia (bladderwort), in Insectivorous plants, pp. 321 and 324.
Daniel Oliver’s paper on Utricularia described the bladders in U. jamesoniana (Oliver 1859, pp 169–70). See letter from J. D. Hooker, 23 September 1874 and n. 2.


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


The Aldrovanda has arrived. Has examined the leaves. It is an aquatic Dionaea which has acquired some structures identical to those of Utricularia!

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 340–341
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9664,” accessed on 19 May 2022,

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