To William Thiselton-Dyer   18 October 1881



It is pleasing and encouraging to me, dear Mr Dyer, to learn from your kind letter just received,1 that the Zamia Moorei2 stem safely arrived. I hope Sir Joseph's & your gladness to get the stem for growing purposes, will not be marred; at all events I have written to the most accessible locality, to learn for what price an other and still larger stem could be brought to the next Port. Unfortunately the sundry expenses, arising in obtaining large stems & roots of any plants for transit in a living state are enormous here. Thus the getting of the large Todea for Schwerin cost about £30" - - which comes out of my slender & heavily taxed private resources.

You will have seen in the last number of the fragm.3 that the stem of Z. Moorei exceptionally attains a height of 20 feet; Z. Denisoni4 gets occasionally taller still, and Cycas media will get as high some time as the masts of a good-sized Schooner!

I seek a honor in it, to share still to a small extent in horticultural work by export of mine and shall always think of Kew, when occasion arises. I have placed myself at once in correspondence with reliable Gentlemen5 to get Photograms also of tall individuals of Cycas media, Z. Denisoni, & Z. Moorei & Z. Fraseri. The others are smaller or so similar, so that it will not be worth while to go to any expenses about them in this way.6

Regardfully your

Ferd. von Mueller.


I asked for photograms of the whole plant & of the ♂ & ♀ cones.

Some Indian sp. of Cycas get also enormously tall!

I was the first who exported Cycas stems anywhere in a living state.


Cycas media

Zamia Denisoni

Zamia Fraseri

Zamia Moorei

Letter not found. The arrival of a ‘large stem of Macrozamia (Encephalartos) Mooreana’ and seeds of the same from M is noted in the Kew Inwards Book 1878-1883, (RBG Kew, Kewensia), p. 326, entry no. 293, 30 August 1881. See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 28 May 1881 and 5 September 1881.
Name not in IPNI. M is often inconsistent in his letters in the use of the generic names of these cycads. His publications show his changing formal views on the generic limits. In B58.06.01, p. 41, he transferred Zamia spiralis to Macrozamia and described under his own name Macrozamia preissii, and M. denisoniiauthored jointly with Charles Moore. in B81.03.01 he described M. moorei, but soon after placed it, without explanation, in Encephalartos (B81.06.01). His formal description as E. moorei was published in B81.08.03, p. 125, before this letter was written. In his Census of genera, B82.02.04, p. 44, M recognised Cycas, Bowenia, and Encephalartos (which incorporated Macrozamia, Arthrozamia, Lepidozamia, Catakidozamia and part of Zamia). He maintained this position in the two editions of his census of species, B83.03.04, (pp. 109-10), and B89.13.12, (p. 184), yet continued to use Zamia and Macrozamia in his letters. For example, he used Zamia dyeri in his letter to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 13 May 1890, although he had described presumably the same species as Encephalartos dyeri in B85.06.02, p. 12. In M to R. Etheridge, 14 December 1895 (in this edition as 95-12-14a) he listed Macrozamia spiralis despite having said that the names of plants in his list of species 'utilized by the aborigines' are 'in accord with the Second Census' (B89.13.12).
B81.08.03, p. 125, under Macrozamia moorei.
Name not in IPNI.
Letters not found.
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 15 February 1882 and notes thereto.

Please cite as “FVM-81-10-18a,” 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 25 September 2022,