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Record number: WCP3872

Sent by:
Alfred Russel Wallace
Sent to:
George Bentham
22 February 1879

Sent by Alfred Russel Wallace, Waldron Edge, Duppas Hill, Croydon to George Bentham, [Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew] on 22 February 1879.

Record created:
07 February 2012 by Catchpole, Caroline


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LETTER (WCP3872.3791)

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

Held by:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Finding number:
Copyright owner:
ŠA. R. Wallace Literary Estate

Physical description

Transcription information




Waldron Edge, Duppas Hill, Croydon.

Feb[ruar]y. 22nd. 1879

Dear Sir

Will you be so good as to give me your opinion on the following question: Are coloured fruits more abundant in tropical, and especially Equatorial,-- or in temperate countries?

My own impression is that they are far less plentiful. I never remember being attracted by them at all in proportion to the variety of plants, or any thing like so much as [cross-out, illeg.] the fruits of our hollies, hawthorns, roses, crabs &c. attract the eye with us. Your immense experience and knowledge of the floras of Equatorial lands will not doubt enable you to form a tolerably definitive opinion [[2]] on the point. It is of interest to me in connection with the colours of animals through the colour sense. Mr. Grant Allen1 connects the brilliant colours of tropical animals--with the brilliant colours of the fruits the feed on; I think he is quite wrong in this.

I do not want anything more than the general impression you have formed. Statistics are out of the question. In the British Flora however, I find there are, as near as I can estimate, 62 bright col[oure]d. fruits, of which 33 are red--24 black--3 yellow and 2 white--

Hoping to have an answer as soon as convenient, and apologising for the trouble it may give you[.]

I remain | dear Sir | Yours very faithfully | Alfred R. Wallace [signature]

G. Bentham, Esq. F.R.S.2


1. Science writer, novelist, professor, and defender of evolutionary theory Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen (1848 - 1899). In 1879, Allen published "The Colour-Sense", a text to which ARW refers in this and the previous sentence.

2. English Botanist George Bentham, CMG, FRS (1800 - 1884). Bentham has been called "the premier systematic botanist of the 19th century". Initially an adherent to the idea of the immutability of species, over time Bentham came to accept Darwins ideas regarding evolution and natural selection.

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