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Record number: WCP1787

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
Odoardo Beccari
5 September 1909

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Old Orchard, Broadstone, Wimborne, Dorset to Odoardo Beccari [none given] on 5 September 1909.

Record created:
18 November 2011 by Catchpole, Caroline


Requests botanical data relating to Italy and New Guinea.

Record contains:

  • letter (1)

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LETTER (WCP1787.1673)

A typical letter handwritten by author in English and signed by author.

Held by:
Biblioteca di Scienze, Botanica Dell'Universitā degli Studi
Finding number:
Archivio Odoardo Beccari, Serie I, 18/28
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Old Orchard,



Septr. 5th.


Prof. O. Beccari

Dear Sir

My friend, Dr. F[rancis]. H[enry]. H[ill]. Guillemard1, has suggested my applying to you for certain botanical data relating to Italy and to New Guinea.

For a book I am now writing I am making a comparison of the richness in species of phanerograms2 of various Areas, large and small, in different regions from the Arctic to the Equatorial, with [[2]] an attempt to explain their differences on the general theory of Evolution.

I shall be much obliged if you can give me the following numerical data--

(1) Species of Planerograms[sic] in


(2) The same for Sicily

(3) The same for any small

areas—from about 100 Eng[li]sh.

square miles, up to those of

1000 or 2000—should any

such enumerations exist.

Any two area of approximately equal size, one in the Alpine [[3]] the other in the lowland regions would also be accepted.


As to New Guinea, I understand that the part you visited was poor botanically; but, since then I understand am informed that very interesting collections have been made, showing that other parts are both rich and highly peculiar.

As no doubt you are acquainted with all that has been published on the subject, I shall be much obliged if you can give me, approximately, the number of species of Phanerograms yet described (or collected) from New Guinea and how far these compare [[4]] with what is at present known of the riches of the Bornean flora.

Excuse me for the troubling you with these enquiries, but it is because you are almost the only botanist who has visited both these great islands.

Yours very truly | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]


1. Francis Henry Hill Gullemard (1852-1933). British naturalist and traveller. Guillemard, born in Kent, travelled widely including Lapland, the Southern African interior, Medeira and the canaries, South-East Asia and throughout Europe. Whilst in SE Asia from 1882 to 1884 he also travelled widely where Wallace had including Borneo, Malacca, Batavia, Celebes, the Moluccas (inc. Ternate, Matchian, Banda, Ambon and the Aru islands). He later published his travels in The Cruise of the Marchesa to Kamschatka and New Guinea, with notices of Formosa, Liu-Kiu, and Various Islands of the Malay Archipelago. In 1888 he became University Reader in Geography at the University of Cambridge (which he relinquished in 1889) and served as Geographical Editor for the university press until his retirement.

2. Also known as, spermatophytes. These are plants that produce seeds.

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