From George Bentham   7 August 1862


(address Kew) Augt 7 1862

My dear Sir,

The enclosed bill of lading1 was given to me just too late to send by last mail — and it was full of clerical blunders. The box was sent from Kew Gardens in Dr Hooker's absence and the agent’s clerk had misspelt your name and put live instead of dried plants — and I am not sure about the freight. I know Dr Hooker had said that it would be paid at Kew at least one way and I see it is charged to you — I will enquire about it before any more are returned to you. Although I date this as above from Kew that being my most permanent address I write this from town on my way to the country. Before I left Kew I had only time to finish Portulaceae, to do Elatineae & Hypericum and to commence Malvaceae. You will see by our Genera2 that we keep up Claytonia Talinium and Calandrinia and after carefully examining all the Australian Portulaceae I am still further confirmed in the expediency of doing so. All the Australian ones are Calandrinias except Claytonia Australasica which like the American ones has the stamens always isomerous with the petals and opposite them whilst in Calandrinia that is only very rarely the case and then only as it were accidentally and in a very few flowers — the habit also is generally different — Talinium, confined to a few species African & American is much more distinct in the strophiole of the seed and several accessory points.

We also keep up Elatine & Bergia as distinct — the obtuse thin sepals without prominent midrib with the consistence of the capsule are quite sufficient characters when accompanied by so decided a difference in habit.

As to the Hypericum gramineum and Japonicum there are certainly two distinct forms which have different geographical ranges. Whether they are species or varieties is one of those moot points which it is difficult to make up one's mind about.

I have reexamined with care the genus Plagianthus and feel more confident in the limitation given to it in the Journ. Linn. Soc. than I did at the time of proposing it.3 Artificial as must be the genera of Malvaceae, the more I examine them the more I feel persuaded that A. Gray's groups are the most natural that have been proposed and the styles, though not quite without exception, give some of the best characters and clearly separate Plagianthus from Sida. I did not take dioecality into consideration because it has different degrees and different species of Plagianthus and exists probably more than is generally supposed in several Sidas — but I believe it will turn out to be a very good secondary character in Plagianthus. I cannot quite agree with you in uniting P. glomeratus with P. spicatus. Drummond's specimens are very good and show no tendency to the spicate inflorescence — in many respects approaching luxuriant specimens of P. Squamatus although without the scurfy scales — I shall reconsider the matter when your specimens come — but we have a great many of P. spicatus from a great many stations. Are you sure that P. microphyllus is specifically distinct from P. squamatus of which we have from several Swan River collections, sometimes short tortuous and spirescent, sometimes elongated and luxuriant.

Yours very sincerely

George Bentham.


Dr Hooker has undertaken to forward to you the 1st part of our Genera4 now out.




Claytonia Australasica




Hypericum gramineum

Hypericum Japonicum


Plagianthus glomeratus

Plagianthus microphyllus

Plagianthus spicatus

Plagianthus Squamatus




Document not found.
Bentham & Hooker (1862-83), vol. 1.
Bentham (1862a).
Bentham and Hooker (1862-83), vol. 1, part 1, published 7 August 1862 ( TL2 ).

Please cite as “FVM-62-08-07,” in Correspondence of Ferdinand von Mueller, edited by R.W. Home, Thomas A. Darragh, A.M. Lucas, Sara Maroske, D.M. Sinkora, J.H. Voigt and Monika Wells accessed on 4 December 2023,