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Letter 4170

Becker, L. E. to Darwin, C. R.

18 May 1863

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    Sends flowers of a variety of Lychnis dioica which has bisexual flowers.


Miss Becker presents her compliments to Mr. Darwin and takes the liberty of sending him the enclosed flowers of a variety of Lychnis dioica common in the woods here but which she has not observed elsewhere. It has bisexual flowers and large dark purple anthers which give the plant a very striking handsome appearance. The same conspicuous anthers occur in flowers bearing stamens only of which one is sent. Miss Becker does not know whether such a variety as this would be interesting to Mr. Darwin, if not she must apologise for having troubled him.

Altham | Accrington | Lancashire

May 18th. 1863.

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    f1 4170.f1
    Becker lived in Altham, Lancashire, between 1838 and 1865, during which time she developed an interest in botany (DNB). It was later established that these plants represented a diseased form of Lychnis dioica (Silene dioica) and not a new variety (see letter from L. E. Becker, 23--4 May [1863] and CD note, letter from L. E. Becker, 28 May [1863], and Becker 1869). When Becker published her observations she substituted the name L. diurna, a synonym for L. dioica (Index Kewensis).
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