RECORD: Thiselton-Dyer, W. T. 1872. [Review of Variation]. On recent progress in the scientific aspects of horticulture: Introductory address at the Birmingham Congress, June 26, 1872. Journal of the Royal Horticulture Society of London, vol. 4: 10-11.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe. 7.2021. RN1

[page] 10


Turn over the volumes of Mr. Darwin's "Animals and Plants under Domestication." Every page is noted with references to ephemeral and apparently trivial sources of information, of which it was reserved for this sagacious writer to appreciate the value. No one need despair of a carefully-recorded fact failing to find its place and use.

How important it would be to thoroughly comprehend the principles of variation! Yet of the numerous persons who raise new varieties of plants, how few there are who record anything of their experiences! Some, no doubt, have acquired a kind of intuitive tact in working with plants. Still, anything like systematized knowledge in the matter is still to a great extent a want to be sup

[page] 11  

plied. Mr. Darwin has grouped together in a most admirable way the facts, in many cases very scanty, which he had been able to collect before writing his book. On many of these subjects it would be very desirable to obtain the fruits of more ample experience. I am glad, therefore, to say that Dr. Denny is about to read us a paper on the relative influence of parentage in cross-fertilising plants, and I think I may point to his work as a proof of the fact that some attention to its theoretical bearing is no obstacle to its practical success. An accumulation of evidence on this subject is very desirable. A more extended study of bud-variation is also a matter which I would commend to your notice. Mr. Darwin arrived at the conclusion that bud-variations, when they occurred at all, usually assumed at once a decided and permanent character. At the same time he thought that this might possibly be a delusion  from slight varieties being overlooked. The attention which is now paid to variegated Pelargoniums seems to offer an opportunity of seeing whether this conclusion is really true.


This document has been accessed 206 times

Return to homepage

Citation: John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

File last updated 25 September, 2022