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- More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume I - 99/99 -

lecture on Insular Floras was published in instalments in the "Gardeners' Chronicle," January 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, 1867.), and like it even more than the first, and more than this I cannot say. By mere chance I stumbled yesterday on a passage in Humboldt that a violet grows on the Peak of Teneriffe in common with the Pyrenees. If Humboldt is right that the Canary Is. which lie nearest to the continent have a much stronger African character than the others, ought you not just to allude to this? I do not know whether you admit, and if so allude to, the view which seems to me probable, that most of the genera confined to the Atlantic islands (I do not say the species) originally existed in, and were derived from, Europe, [and have] become extinct on this continent. I should thus account for the community of peculiar genera in the several Atlantic islands. About the Salvages is capital. (377/2. The Salvages are rocky islets about midway between Madeira and the Canaries; and they have an Atlantic flora, instead of, as might have been expected, one composed of African immigrants. ("Insular Floras," page 5 of separate copy.)) I am glad you speak of LINKING, though this sounds a little too close, instead of being continuous. All about St. Helena is grand. You have no faith, but if I knew any one who lived in St. Helena I would supplicate him to send me home a cask or two of earth from a few inches beneath the surface from the upper part of the island, and from any dried-up pond, and thus, as sure as I'm a wriggler, I should receive a multitude of lost plants.

I did suggest to you to work out proportion of plants with irregular flowers on islands; I did this after giving a very short discussion on irregular flowers in my Lythrum paper. (377/3. "Linn. Soc. Journ." VIII., 1865, page 169.) But what on earth has a mere suggestion like this to do with meum and tuum? You have comforted me much about the bigness of my book, which yet turns me sick when I think of it.

More Letters of Charles Darwin Volume I - 99/99

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