RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1877. [The scarcity of holly berries and bees]. Gardeners' Chronicle 7, no. 160 (20 January): 83.

REVISION HISTORY: Scanned, text prepared and edited by John van Wyhe 2003-8. RN3

NOTE: See record in the Freeman Bibliographical Database, enter its Identifier here. See the remarks preceding and following Darwin's letter in the image view.

[page] 83

—I beg a little space in your journal to confess my error with respect to the cause of the scarcity of Holly berries.1 I have been convinced of this by the two communications in your last number, by a statement in the Garden by Mr. Fish, and by some private letters which I have received.2 It appears that several causes in combination have led to this scarcity; but I still think that the rarity of bees of all kinds in this neighbourhood during the spring, of which fact I feel assured, may have played a part, though a quite subordinate one. Charles Darwin, Down, Beckenham, Jan. 17.

1 Darwin refers to his earlier letter to Gardeners' Chronicle Darwin 1877.

2 There were several replies to Darwin's previous letter which was reprinted in The Times, 11 January 1877, p. 7 and local newspapers. See Gardeners' Chronicle, 13 January 1877, p. 52, 20 January 1877, p. 83, and 3 February 1877, pp. 148-9 and Correspondence vol. 25. David Taylor Fish (1824-1901), professional gardener and horticultural journalist. Fish 1877.observed that even though most trees had few berries, a few had a full complement of berries and this could not be attributed to a scarcity of bees. Fish wrote a longer reply that immediately precedes this note by Darwin (see the image view).

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

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