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Darwin Correspondence Project

To F. J. Cohn   1 January 1875

Down, | Beckenham, Kent. | Railway Station | Orpington. S.E.R.

Jan 1. 75

My dear Sir

According to our English fashion “I wish you many happy returns of this day”. I write now to ask you whether I might copy two of your drawings of Aldrovanda, marked by a red cross on the sketch which you were so kind as to send me.1 I should like to add one of the quadrifid trichomes if these have been drawn by you.2 I give only woodcuts in my forthcoming work, and I should of course say that they were copied from you. I have not described Aldrovanda, & refer my readers to your work; but my few remarks would hardly be intelligble without these drawings.3 I am going to send my other drawings to the woodcut-engraver immediately; & if you grant me permission, & if I receive your work in time, I will have the drawings copied.4 It would therefore be a great assistance to me if you could send me a proof of the plate.

I hope that you will excuse my begging this favour and I remain | dear Sir | with much respect | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin


Cohn had sent two small sketches of Aldrovanda (the waterwheel plant) and a galley proof of his forthcoming article on Aldrovanda (Cohn 1875a) with his letter of 4 October 1874 (Correspondence vol. 22). CD’s annotated proof copy of Cohn 1875a (not including illustrations) is in DAR 58.2: 35–43; the sketches have not been found. In Insectivorous plants, p. 323, CD reproduced a woodcut of a whorl of leaves of Aldrovanda ‘from Prof. Cohn’; it is from fig. 5 in Cohn 1875a. Aldrovanda is carnivorous, and has only one extant species, A. vesiculosa.
On the quadrifid processes of Aldrovanda, see Insectivorous plants, pp. 323–4. There is no illustration of a quadrifid process.
CD referred to Cohn 1875a in Insectivorous plants, p. 321 n.
The woodcuts for Insectivorous plants were made by James Davis Cooper, from drawings mostly by George Howard and Francis Darwin (Insectivorous plants, p. 3 n.).


Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

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


Asks whether he might copy two of FJC’s drawings of Aldrovanda. He would like to have a proof of the plate for two woodcuts to be used in his forthcoming book [Insectivorous plants].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Ferdinand Julius Cohn
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 185: 97
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9795A,” accessed on 31 July 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 23