From Joseph Hooker   10 September 1869

Septr 10/691

My dear Mueller

The [Patentous] and Prodigious Todea arrived yesterday in splendid condition with hundreds of young pink & white fronds pushing through the saw dust — it is a thing to dream about. We shall make a nidus for it with a watery bottom in a shady part of the Temperate House where I do not doubt it's becoming a grand feature in the House-scape. It is the finest thing we have had for many a long day, & I cannot thank you sufficiently for it. We shall do our endeavour to send a suitable return I assure you. I think we had better send case after case of Nepenthes till you get one alive — this we must do through careful ships captains. As to Sarracenias, we have plenty, but they present far more difficulty. I fear that the long tropical exposure by sailing ship will be fatal to them, & that the best plan would be to send them in early spring, by small Ward's cases overland if we could but get some one to look after such cases. The P. & O. seem to take delight in knocking Ward's Cases to pieces, or putting them in the hold, or near the Engine. We now rarely get them with life in them even from Calcutta. Depend on it we shall do our best for you.

Nepenthes takes any amount of Heat & moisture & rather little shade. Sarracenias you must keep cool moist & shady, with plenty of Lycopodium amongst them.

This is mail day, so I can write no more

but am

Ever sincerely yr

Jos D Hooker


Would not sawdust make capital packing for tree ferns. Do try sending some moderate sized ones — 2-4 feet — do not remove any fronds, young or old but fold them down carefully along the trunk.

Have you any Australian names for the Todea — Australian "Fern Royal" I call it.

Photographs of Kew by next mail2

Poisoning paper will not prevent insect ravages of the plants — we put poison in the glue, & afterwards wash all parts of the plant with Sol. of Corrosive Sublimate3 in methylated spirits.






Embossed letterhead of Royal Gardens Kew.
See M to J. Hooker, 16 June 1869. Photographs not found.
Mercuric chloride.

Please cite as “FVM-69-09-10,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 20 September 2021,