Letter from Charles Darwin [to William Robinson]

Scope and Content

Written from 6 Queen Anne Street, [London]. Manuscript

He is sorry to have missed seeing Robinson; he returns home tomorrow but hopes to see him when he is next in London; he is grateful for Robinson’s offer of assistance which he will bear in mind; it is improbable that Robinson could aid him, however if Euryale ferox should produce more than one flower at a time, he asks Robinson to cross some and fertilise others with their own pollen, in order to see whether the cross increases fertility; Darwin would undertake the counting of the seed; pollen should be taken for the cross from a distinct plant; the euryale at Kew [Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew] is dead, where they would have made the trial on a large scale for him; Professor Caspary has advanced this plant as a case of self-fertilisation for many generations with unimpaired fertility; if Robinson has two distinct plants of any nymphaea, Darwin would like the above trial to be carried out but the flowers which are fertilised with their own pollen ought to be protected from insects, whilst expanded; he thanks Robinson for his kind offer

Dated Sunday, no month or year [1865 or 1866; a subsequent letter from Darwin to Robinson on the subject is datable as 1866, see WRO/2/26]