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Record number: WCP5536

Sent by:
George Henry Kendrick Thwaites
Sent to:
Joseph Dalton Hooker
15 November 1864

Sent by George Henry Kendrick Thwaites, Peradeniya, Ceylon [Sri Lanka] to Joseph Dalton Hooker [none given] on 15 November 1864.

Record created:
22 May 2014 by Benny, Ruth


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LETTER (WCP5536.6294)

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

Held by:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Finding number:
DC 162 folio 225
Copyright owner:
Copyright of the George Henry Kendrick Thwaites Literary Estate.
Record scrutiny:
22/05/2014 - Benny, Ruth;

Physical description

Transcription information




Peradenia [sic],


15 Nove[ember] 1864

Dear Hooker1,

I omitted to answer one of the enquiries in your last letter, when I wrote to you a fortnight ago -- I have neither the Cephaëlis2 nor the Calumba3 plant growing in the garden, and should be very glad to try both of them, as Mr Hanbury4 recommends --

Should you see Mr Hanbury will you tell him that I have five plants of the [[2]] Physostigma venenatum5 , [sic] raised from seeds he sent me, growing vigorously in the open ground: -- and the largest plant those of Myroxylon Pareira6, [sic] also raised from seed received from him, has a trunk nine inches in circumference close to the ground, and the largest of the several branches, into which it divides at about a foot from the ground, is 11 ½ feet long -- I hope Mr. Hanbury will always think [[3]] of me when he has tropical seeds to spare.

I have been obliged to plant out[?] very little[?] spotted plants of Begonia malabarica7, as they were so attacked with mould on the leaves: they are recovering now. I look with great interest to their flowering, for if they show no sign of being crossed (from the flower resembling the ordinary form of the plant) I shall really begin to think that there may be some subtle recondite influence exercised within any physical intermixture -- and it would [[4]]8 be analogous to what Wallace observed with regard to one group of butterflies simulating another in one or more of its species9.

I am always | Your affectionate | G. H. K. Thwaites10 [signature]

Both Natalensis11, & Malabaric[a] come up spotted when growing & lose it afterwards12


1. Hooker, Joseph Dalton (1817-1911). British botanist and explorer and founder of geographical botany. He succeeded his father William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) as Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew on his death and held the post for 20 years.

2. A genus of flowering plant of the family Rubiaceae, commonly known as the coffee, madder, or bedstraw family.

3. The Calumba plant, Jateorhiza palmata is a tropical vine producing a tuberous root with digestive medicinal properties.

4. Hanbury, Thomas (1832-1907). English businessman, gardener and philanthropist. He built the Giardini Botanici Hanbury (Hanbury Botanical Gardens), at Mortola, between Ventimiglia and Menton on the Côte d’Azur.

5. Physostigma venenosum Balf.

6. Myroxylon pareirae Klotzch is a synonym of Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae (Royle) Harms.

7. Begonia malabarica var. hydrophila C.B. Clarke is a synonym of Begonia malabarica var. rheedii A.DC.

8. The number "222" is written vertically in red ink in the top LH margin of the page.

9. Wallace., A. R. (1879) Protective mimicry in animals Science for All ed. Robert Brown, 5 vols., London, Paris & New York, 1877-1882 Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co., Vol. 2, pp. 284-296.

10. Thwaites, George Henry Kendrick (1811-1882). English botanist and entomologist. In March 1849, on the death of George Gardner he was appointed superintendent of the Botanic gardens at Peradeniya, Ceylon.

11. Not identified as Begonia sp. (or as species of any other genus).

12. Written in pencil below the valediction.

Please note that work on this transcript is not yet complete. Users are advised to study electronic image(s) of this document, if available.