From Joseph Hooker   10 October 1857

Kew October 10th 1857.

My dear Dr Mueller

Since I last had the pleasure of addressing you,1 my Father has received the very splendid & most interesting collections of N. Australian plants which you have sent to Kew, & which have given the greatest satisfaction. They are in all respects better than could possibly have been expected & we are quite at a loss to imagine how you could have managed to collect so much & preserve so well on so hazardous & fatiguing an expedition. Your valuable & extensive Mss2 have also all arrived in perfect safety, & we have published several of your new genera in the last number of the Journal,3 together with the exceedingly interesting new Van Diemens land plants whose descriptions you send.4 It is now mainly on the subject of the remainder of your mss that I would address you. These have all been sorted as they arrive, & you will find them in perfect order, but their excessive bulk, amounting now to several foolscap reams render it quite impossible for any one to do much with them but yourself. The verifying your new genera is a work of much greater labor than you suppose; & you must not be surprized to hear that some of them are common & well known Indian genera & even species. Thus not I assure you from want of will on my Fathers & my parts, that we do not publish more of your mss; but from want of time, & on my own part at any rate who am engaged on the Tasmanian Flora & the Indian5 much averseness to committing both yourself & myself by publishing old plants as new — You have also I think proposed several different plants under the same name for some of the more important genera named after the Colonial Governors, some new & some old, & this complicates the matter very much. Want of time is however the main evil on our parts, for you must recollect, that besides our own duties & our own scientific works, we have correspondents like circumstanced with yourself all over the world; all requiring more or less of our time. — Another matter that makes a material difference is, that the Journal of Botany is to be discontinued this year,6 & we shall not have the facility for publishing your mss that we had. It is true that the Linnaean Society publishes & would most gladly receive contributions, but it requires that papers laid before it be strictly scrutinized by referees, & they would not feel themselves justified in publishing any quantity of new genera & species that had not been compared with an extensive and well named Herbarium. Still I shall endeavour to make a good communication to that Society in your name,7 & indeed have long been intending to carry out your often expressed wish in this matter; but the Kew Journal has hitherto required all that I could supply of your materials with care. — With regard to your paper on Goodeniaceae, de Vries has left Europe for Java & so his Journal has come to a close8 & indeed I think that when you come to Kew & see how the Goodeniaceae have been done by our excellent friend de Vries, you will approve of our decision to withold your mss till your arrival9 here. The fact is that de Vries monograph10 is a most unfortunate attempt, it includes Stylideae Lobeliaceae & even a Rubiaceous plant besides numerous wrong identifications, so that any comment upon it made without access to the materials upon which he worked, cannot but add to the confusion he has already made. In systematic Botany even the best Botanists are often at fault & I find it impossible to identify many of Brown's described Tasmanian plants without access to his specimens. The Cyperaceae especially have cost me many weeks of labor, your specimens have been invaluable, though like my own, often wrong-named. The N. Zealand Chaetospora axillaris which you write to me about, is one out of many cases in point; it is certainly Brown's plant, though I shd [not]11 have known it any more than you did, but for his specimens & so [with] many others. The long & short of the matter is that Systematic Botany is a much more laborious & critical operation than any one conceives who has not access to a large Herbm & Library & the quantity of scattered dismembered materials in the shape of genera & species now daily being further & more widely scattered through periodicals of all kinds, threatens to render the effectual study of species impossible at no distant period. Systematic monographs & Floras are what are now wanted & we do look with the greatest anxiety to your visiting England & throwing your magnificent materials into a connected whole. I am striving to do this for the Indian Flora, & Dr Harvey is going to begin the South African12 & all I can say is that you shall [have]13 every assistance for the Australian that we can command. Meanwhile you may depend that we shall loose no opportunity of keeping your labors before the public eye & I shall make a point of getting up the paper for the Linnæan from your materials which you are anxious about, & present it in your name altogether. Your collections are nearly all arranged in the Herbarium & are being poisoned as they are entered; it is impossible to exaggerate their value.

I asked you in my last whether you had seen my friend Frederick Adamson in Melbourne, a very old & valued pupil of my Father's & an excellent collector, very fond of Botany indeed.

I am now printing the Tasmanian orchids & have nearly completed the mss of the Monocotyledons there is a very great difficulty in the Schoenus Lepidosperma &c &c which I hope I have unravelled. Brown's Cladium Filum is I think not Labillardieres. — Your & Brown's? C. Filum is Labills Gahnia trifida. Browns Restiaceae are very confused, several Restios & Leptocarpi being sexes of one species as you have detected in Lept: simplex & Restio cinerascens I think.

But I must break off as it is post time.

Believe me ever

most truly yours

Jos D Hooker


Chaetospora axillaris

Cladium Filum


Gahnia trifida


Leptocarpus simplex



Restio cinerascens


Schoenus Lepidosperma


See J. Hooker to M, 3 June 1857.
These MSS have not been identified.
B57.13.04, published October 1857.
B57.13.03, published October 1857.
J. Hooker (1855-60), (1875-97).
W. Hooker (1849-57).
W. de Vriese travelled in the Dutch East Indies, 1858-61. The journal was possibly Nederlandsch kruidkundig Archief of which de Vriese was co-editor and founder. See TL2.
return deleted before arrival.
Vriese (1854).
editorial addition.
Harvey & Sonder (1860-5).
editorial addition.

Please cite as “FVM-57-10-10,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 26 October 2021,