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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. D. Hooker   9 October 1874


Oct 9th 1874

My dear Hooker

In your Edit of Decaisne, Byblis from Australia & Roridula from S. Africa are given under the Dros: & Lindley adds Sondera of Lehm.1 As I have examined 4 genera, I should very much like to see a leaf of any or all of these genera. But I do not know what I am asking, for these plants may be excessively rare; but if you can spare a leaf (especially one with the hairs or tentacles incurved) I could soak it, gum it on paper & return it. I suppose you could get one of yr assistants to look at the plants & settle whether a leaf could be spared. By the way in Descaisne I see “Morocco” added to the range of Drosophyllum, & “Bengal” to Aldrovanda; I presume that the square brackets mean that you have added these localities.2

Will you ask Oliver3 to do me a great favour; viz: to consider whether there is any anomalous sp of Utricularia, especially an epiphytic or marsh sp, & send me if possible an atom of a rhizome or branch, that I might soak it & look at the bladders.4 I have studied so carefully those which I possess, that I desire much to see how far their structure ever differs. No doubt Oliver can tell me whether other sp, besides U. montana, have tubers on the rhizomes.—5

I am keeping the 3 buds of Aldrovanda under 3 different temperatures, & they are all looking pretty well, so that I have hopes of the leaves opening.6 I am afraid this letter will bother you. Yours affectionately | Ch. Darwin


CD refers to Frances Harriet Hooker and Joseph Dalton Hooker’s English edition of A general system of botany, descriptive and analytical (Le Maout and Decaisne 1873); the references to genera in the family Droseraceae are in ibid. 1: 407. Byblis is the genus of rainbow plants; it is now placed in the family Byblidaceae. Roridula is now in the family Roridulaceae. Each family has only one genus. Sondera is a synonym of Drosera (sundew); see Lindley 1853, p. 434, and Lehmann ed. 1844–7. CD discusses Byblis, Roridula, and Sondera in Insectivorous plants, pp. 343–5, 342–3, and 284, respectively.
See Le Maout and Decaisne 1873, 1: 408.
Daniel Oliver was keeper of the herbarium at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew.
CD stated that he wanted to examine epiphytic species of Utricularia (bladderwort) in his letter to W. T. Thiselton-Dyer, 28 [June 1874], and asked for plants in his letter to D. F. Nevill, 7 September 1874, and his letter to J. D. Hooker, 8 September [1874]. CD referred to epiphytic and marsh species of Utricularia in Insectivorous plants, p. 409.
Dorothy Fanny Nevill sent CD a plant of Utricularia montana (see letters from D. F. Nevill, 8 [September 1874] and [11 September 1874]). Utricularia montana is a synonym of U. alpina. It is a species that can be epiphytic or terrestrial, and grows on moss, bark, or decaying leaves in its native habitat. Epiphytic forms of Utricularia are restricted to Central and South America. CD discussed the species in Insectivorous plants, pp. 431–41.
Harriet Anne Hooker had sent buds of Aldrovanda vesiculosa (the waterwheel plant); see letter from J. D. Hooker, 29 September 1874, and letter to J. D. Hooker, 1 October [1874].


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

Lindley, John. 1853. The vegetable kingdom; or, the structure, classification, and uses of plants, illustrated upon the natural system. 3d edition with corrections and additional genera. London: Bradbury & Evans.

Roxburgh, William. 1832. Flora Indica; or descriptions of Indian plants. 3 vols. Serampore: W. Thacker and Co., Calcutta. Parbury, Allen and Co., London.


Asks JDH for leaves of Byblis and Roridula to examine, and D. Oliver for an anomalous species of Utricularia.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Joseph Dalton Hooker
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 95: 341a
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9670,” accessed on 26 September 2021,

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