RECORD: Gray, Asa. 1874. Robert Brown and Sprengel. Nature (2 July): 161.

REVISION HISTORY: Transcribed by Christine Chua and edited by John van Wyhe 7.2022. RN1

NOTE: See the record for this item in the Freeman Bibliographical Database by entering its Identifier here. This was sent by Gray to Darwin as an enclosure to his 19 June 1874 letter. Darwin forwarded it to Nature for publication. See Correspondence vol. 22, p. 301.

[page] 161

In the notice of Mr. Darwin (vol. x. p. 80, bottom of 2nd col.) a mishap has somehow occurred which blunts the point intended to be made prominent and renders the statement untrue. I supposed that I had written "And we know from another source that he (Mr. Brown) looked upon Sprengel's ideas as by no means fantastic. Yet instead," &c. The object was to show how very near Mr. Brown came to reaching the principle that Nature abhors close-fertilisation in plants, and yet did not reach it at all. The authority for the statement I wished to make will be found in a footnote in Mr. Darwin's book on the "Fertilisation of Orchids," p. 340.


Cambridge, Mass., June 19

[Orchids, p. 123, note: "Professor Asa Gray was so kind as to examine Spiranthes gracilis and cernua in the United States. He found the same general structure as in our S. autumnalis, and he was struck with the narrowness of the passage into the flower."]

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