Different Forms of Flowers

Darwin recalled the writing of this book in his Autobiography:

FlowersIn this same year The Different Forms of Flowers, etc., appeared, and in 1880 a second edition. This book consists chiefly of the several papers on heterostyled flowers, originally published by the Linnean Society, corrected, with much new matter added, together with observations on some other cases in which the same plant bears two kinds of flowers. As before remarked, no little discovery of mine ever gave me so much pleasure as the making out the meaning of heterostyled flowers. The results of crossing such flowers in an illegitimate manner, I believe to be very important as bearing on the sterility of hybrids; although these results have been noticed by only a few persons.

The book is also described in Chapter IX in Life and letters.

John van Wyhe

Bibliographical introduction by R. B. Freeman

Much of the content of this had previously been published in the Journal of the Linnean Society of London and elsewhere. Had Darwin not chosen such genetically complex examples, he might have approached more nearly to an understanding of the laws of particulate inheritance. Like Cross and self fertilisation, it was too technical a work to command a large sale, and only about 2,000 copies were sold in Darwin's lifetime, and perhaps 4,000 before the end of the century.

The first edition, of 1,250 copies, was issued on July 9, 1877, in a standard case, at a cost of 10s. 6d. It has thirty-two pages of inserted advertisements which are dated January or March. The second, again of 1,250 copies, appeared in July 1880 with a new preface which surveys the recent literature, and in which Darwin states that 'the text has been left as it originally appeared excepting that a few errors have been corrected'. This is then the definitive text, but in the third thousand of 1884 Francis Darwin added another preface which again brings the literature up to date.

American editions were from English stereos, and the book was not reprinted after 1903 until a Brussels facsimile appeared in 1969. It was translated only into French and German in Darwin's lifetime, and into four further languages since his death.

1877. The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. Text Image PDF F1277

1877. The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. New York: Appleton. Image PDF F1278

1884. The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species. 3d thousand. Preface by Francis Darwin. Text Image PDF F1281


1878. Des différentes formes de fleurs dans les plantes de la même espèce. Image PDF F1296


1877. Die verschiedenen Blüthenformen an Pflanzen der nämlichen Art. Text Image PDF F1297


1884. Le diverse forme dei fiori in piante della stessa specie. Image PDF F1299


1965. Diferite forme de flori de pe plante de aceeasi specie & plante insectivore. PDF F1243


Click here for a full bibliographical list.


From: Freeman, R. B. 1977. The works of Charles Darwin: an annotated bibliographical handlist. 2d ed. Dawson: Folkstone.

NOTE: With thanks to The Charles Darwin Trust and Dr Mary Whitear for use of the Bibliographical Handlist. Copyright. All rights reserved. For private academic use only. Not for republication or reproduction in whole or in part without the prior written consent of The Charles Darwin Trust, 31 Baalbec Road, London N5 1QN.

Corrections and additions copyright John van Wyhe, The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online - National University of Singapore.


File last up21 August, 2023e -->e -->