To William Thiselton-Dyer   24 February 1883



By last mail, dear Mr Dyer, I sent a photogram of fruit-amenta of Macrozamia Douglasii, also a dried male amentum and some ♂ scales of Cycas Seemannii; — by this post I hope to be able to send a ♀ amentum of Macrozamia Douglasii, as it seems now getting sufficiently dry for packing. The Strobilus intended for you, has the scales rather less pointed than those, of which the photograms were made. I trust also that at last I shall have stitched copies for Kew of the Species-Census of Australian plants.1 The writing and printing of the alphabetic Index took more time than I thought, and now the stitching has caused an other delay.

How is Ottelia ovalifolia getting on?2

I received with gratitude the copy of the Directorial Report of Kew Gardens for 1882, though when reading these kinds of Documents "mein Herz blutet"3 as a Director in former happier times. The industrial notes are of great interest again, and will afford me some additional data for a new edition of the select plants.4

In regard to our friends Bailey "intimate acquaintance with the Floras of Australia and New Zealand, acquired by travels and study in the course of a long residence in the southern hemisphere"5 I merely repeat, what I stated in a former letter,6 that I never heard of him except as a horticulturist pure and simple during the years 1847-1852, when I met him occasionally at his fathers plant nursery in Adelaide*7 when other Gardeners like Wilhelmi C. Stuart, and any one else interested in native plants then in S.A. were in frequent communication with me on botanic matters; nor have I ever learnt of Mr B. forming during many years stay in N.Z any botanical collections, which he might have done yet at a time, when Hector, Haast and Travers made the great strides for a finishing harvest in the N.Z flora, – before Kirk, Buchanan, Cheeseman and others. I have in vain searched for the slightest indication of any data in any works, of Mr B. being identified with either the S.A. or N.Z. Flora, and have simply looked on him as a Q.L. 8 Botanist, and could prove by his correspondence, that he was mainly if not solely as a disciple of mine drawn from the horticultural into his bot. career after he came to Brisbane.

Mr B. is somewhat audacious in his assertions, which must be taken cum grano salis9 even to the extent of passing judg[e]ment10 on the grandest botanic institutions in the world, at least in former years. He certainly even told me of his bot. collection made in S.A, as I remember from one of his letters, to which I demurred. He pretend[ed]11 to have sent these collections to Loddiges; but when the last of the Loddiges died in 1846, Mr B. was still in his boyhood!12 it is a pity, that an otherwise so excellent a man should have such egoistic weaknesses, and tyro[,] as he still is in Botany, try to elevate himself on the expense of those who helped him on and to whom — perhaps inconsciously — he must therefore give some pain and cause some discouragement.

I am of course happy to see Mr B. bring out a QL synopsis, and given him such information specially for it as he has sought.13

Regardfully your

Ferd von Mueller


Regel invited me officially as Juror to St Petersburg,14 but I do not intend to meet Garden Directors in Europe, unless I am again their colleague. I am sending a Todea there and also to Amsterdam.15

I do not think that Mr Bailey travelled botanically in any part of Australia except in Q L.

*I was through those years much in town, though I travelled extensively also and had my landed property, purchased in 1847, 30 miles South of Adelaide)16


Cycas Seemannii

Macrozamia Douglasii

Ottelia ovalifolia


See M to J. Hooker, 29 June 1882 (in this edition as 82-06-29b) and notes thereto.
My heart bleeds.
The next edition of M’s “Select plants” was the American edition, B84.13.22.
The source of this quotation has not been identified, although it may be a paraphrase by another of part of a letter to the Brisbane Courier by J. Bancroft: ‘As well as in Australia, Mr Bailey has travelled much in New Zealand, and knows the flora of these countries better probably than any man living, except, maybe, Sir F. von Mueller’ (cutting from Brisbane Courier, 17 September 1879, p. 5 pasted to ff 35-6).
M to J. Hooker, 24 July 1882?
The * refers to a marginal note reproduced here as the second post-script paragraph.
with a grain of salt.
Text obscured by binding.
Text obscured by binding.
After George Loddiges’ death in 1846, his son Conrad continued the nursery, finally closing it in 1854, when the equipment was sold by auction (London daily news, 5 August 1854, p. 8, col. f) after many of the palms and other stock were acquired for the re-erected Crystal Palace at Sydenham (London standard, 12 June 1854, p. 2).
The correspondence between Bailey and M contains a large number of questions and answers. In his preface Bailey writes: 'The writer would here acknowledge his indebtedness to the authors from whose works he has culled information; more particularly to Baron von Mueller, for the great advantage derived from his recent work, “Systematic Census of Australian Plants”' (Bailey 1883).
‘The Exhibition referred to will be simply a horticultural Show of a week's duration though on a large scale, to which I was asked to contribute as an honorary member of the Hortic. Society of St Petersburg’ (see notes appended to M to G. Berry, 19 March 1883).
See M to Messrs Watson & Scull, 28 February 1883.
See n. 7 above. For M's property see Gemmell (1975).

Please cite as “FVM-83-02-24,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 20 September 2021,