To William Thiselton-Dyer   18 February 1890



A few hurried lines only, dear Mr Dyer, to say:

1, that the Livistona of Gipps-Land is undoubtedly L. australis. The shape of the leaves alters somewhat in age; thus you will likely find, that the two plants, to which you refer as cultivated, are not of equal height and therefore not of equal age. The two other spec., mentioned by RBr., are probably both forms of one and must be intratropic solely.

2, the Schoenus curvulus, referred by Mr Clarke,2 to S. indutus, is not likely identical with it, as they belong to two phytogeographically very distinct regions. S. indutus is exclusively W. Australian, where also the endemismus3 of the Cyperoideae is so extensively developed. In the essay on Sir W. Macgregor's plants,4 p 36, I compared it to S laxus, which likewise belongs to a rather frigid mountain region, while S. indutus is a species of warm and even hot lowlands.

3, that you have not received specimens of all the kinds of plants, gathered on the highlands of New Guinea, (very few being brought from the lowlands, except ferns and some from the Louisiades5), is explained by the paucity and fragmentary state of them, particularly also the Rhododendrons. I thought it therefore best, to keep the scanty material together with a view of lithographic delineations being prepared; but that can only be done, after the Atlas of the Salsolaceae6 shall have been completed, that work being urgently wanted for rural purposes.

Regardfully your


Ferd von Mueller


4. If you have not Livistona Mariae7 living plants can be sent from here.

Just real traces of Leichhardt discovered after 42 years!8 Our geogr. branch here is sending out at once a party, to bring in yet available relics, and to learn more of the terrible catastrophe from the natives, the members of the expedition having died successively from thirst!



Livistona Mariae



Schoenus curvulus

Schoenus indutus

Schoenus laxus

Date stamped: Royal Gardens Kew 21. Mar. 90. Annotated by Thiselton-Dyer: And 13.7.90. (letter not found.)
C. B. Clarke had named specimens of Cyperaceae that M had sent to Kew, see M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 21 November 1889.
Archipelgo SE of New Guinea.
Decades 3-6 of this work were published in 1890 (B90.13.14), but the final Decades, 7-9, did not appear until 1891 (B91.13.24).
Livistona Mariae is underlined in blue pencil. W. Watson has annotated the adjcent margin in ink : We have small plants from seeds recd in 1886 Can he send a large plant? W. W.
See Lewis (2013), pp 182-9, and M to A. Supan, February 1890.

Please cite as “FVM-90-02-18,” 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 8 August 2022,