To William Thiselton-Dyer1    22 February 1881



This day, dear Mr Dyer, I have received your kind letter of the 5. Jan.2 with the specimen branchlets of the hardy Kew-Eucalyptus. There cannot be the slightest doubt, that it is E. Gunnii,3 as I almost anticipated and as Sir Joseph also thinks. When publishing E. polyanthema in the Atlas4 I advisedly omitted any reference to the Kew-tree. In all Eucalypts some coppice-shoots may be found, conforming in their foliage to the young seedlings; hence you have sent an adventitious shoot, which has the characteristic opposite roundish sessile seedling leaves of E. Gunnii, of which I gave a drawing in the Atlas also. 5 In E. polyanthema the seedling-leaves are scattered and stalked, but also broad. You are likely to find the stem of the Kew-tree decorticating (leiophloious), whereas that of E. polyanthema is pachyphloious. But these are distinctions of degree, altho’ quite appreciable any where. I was sure, that only three species could represent the Kew-tree, namely: E. Gunnii or E. pauciflora or E. amygdalina, if we leave the few kinds of doubtful specific substantiality out of consideration as well as any shrubby species. As you will be aware the copious oil dots of the leaves distinguish E. amygdalina at a glance, while the longitudinal veins of the leaves of E. pauciflora are very characteristic. The seedlings of E. pauciflora and E. amygdalina are also quite different to those of E. Gunnii. In speaking of E. Gunnii it must be remembered, that Bentham united with it some forms of E. Stuartiana,6 which species will not bear severe frosts. You will probably experience no difficulty to maintain also E. amygdalina & E. pauciflora in the open air at Kew, if you plant out seedlings 2 or three years old in the commencement of summer and cover them during the first subsequent winter. Sir Joseph on my recommendation sent seeds of these & others to the Channel-Islands, so you could easily get young plants from there.

You will have received long since my letter, in which I at once in fairness acknowledged, that some seeds of the Coapim had germinated.7 All honor and praise to Dr Glaziou therefore. It is however not Panicum spectabile; and this I can now understand, as the Rio Janeiro Panicum may be so similar in habit to the West African true Coapim, that the Negros would give a common name to both species. I learned however by letter from poor Dr Welwitsch,8 that the W. Afr. Coapim was P. spectabile; and if you will kindly refer to Welw.’s herbarium and labels at Kew, you will see what he took for Coapim.

The discovery of the Lebanon-Cedar in Cyprus9 and therefore the first time in Europe, is highly interesting, like that of & (by Heldreich) in Greece.10

Allow me to send you as a little contribution to your kind Lady’s Drawing-room table a few lithograms of Australian landscapes. I thought it might give her some little pleasure, and the idea of that cheerses11 me in my own cheerlessness, as I shall ever feel forlorn and sad, unless I can return to my former garden.

Regardfully your

Ferd von Mueller


Eucalyptus amygdalina,

Eucalyptus Gunnii

Eucalyptus pauciflora

Eucalyptus polyanthema

Eucalyptus Stuartiana


Panicum spectabile

MS annotation: And Ap. 25/81. Letter not found.
Letter not found.
Double lines in margin adjacent to this text. M's identification of the eucalypt that withstood the severe winter at Kew was reported in 'The winter of 1880-81 at Kew', Gardeners' chronicle, 6 August 1881, p. 167.
B79.13.11, Decade 3.
B79.13.11, Decade 4.
Bentham (1863-78), vol. 3, pp. 244, 247.
M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 1 January 1881.
Letter not found.
Gardeners’ chronicle, 29 November 1879, p. 690.
Heldreich (1879) found Aesculus hippocastanum (p. 144) in Northern Greece, and Juglans regia (p. 150) in mixed woodlands in Aetolia and elsewhere in Greece.

Please cite as “FVM-81-02-22,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 26 October 2021,