To William Thiselton-Dyer1    27 March 1890



I think, I should mention to you, my honored friend, that after Mr Bailey resumed communication with me lately on his own accord,3 I looked over some of his plants from the Bellenden Ker's Ranges4 again, and am thus reminded, that his Alsophila Capensis5 is A Rebeccae! He seems to have based his identification merely on the adventitious growth, occuring on both these ferntrees. Pray, let Mr Baker know this, so as to avoid there record of mistakes. What Mr B's A Rebeccae is, enumerated by him also, I do not know, as he only sent me specimens of one ferntree. His Harpullia frutescens6 is clearly a form, indicated by me before, of H alata. It is impossible for me, to accept any of his species, until I have examined specimens. His new Vallisneria7 is a Blyxa, — well known, I think, but I emerge only now from the arrear-work, accumulated during the Austral. Assoc. Meeting;8 so h[av]e9 not closely yet, examined the subject.

Always regardfully your

Ferd. von Mueller.10


Many of Fitzgeralds11 species I omitted,12 because he takes quite different views to mine on limits of species.13

I introduced here mirrors for giving additional vistas in the horticult. shows.14

15It is just 50 years ago, March 1840, when I commenced my botanic excursions in the south-western parts of the Dukedom of Schleswig, then Danish territory.


Alsophila Capensis

Alsophila Rebeccae


Harpullia frutescens

Harpullia alata


MS black edged — M's brother-in-law George Doughty died on 26 March 1890. The recipient of this letter is inferred from the subject matter and annotations.
Date stamped Royal Gardens Kew 5. May. 90. Annotated in ink by J. Baker: JGB 5/5/90 and in pencil by Thiselton-Dyer: And 13. 7.90 (letter not found).
No letters from F. Bailey to M between 17 October 1889 (in this edition as 89-10-17a) and 7 April 1890 have been found.
Bailey (1889), p. 74.
Bailey (1889), p. 36. Bailey gave an explicit argument for making the distinction between his plant and M's H. alata.
Vallisneria gracilis, in Bailey (1889), p. 62. See also M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 6 April 1890.
M was President of the Second Congress of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Melbourne in January 1890.
editorial addition —page is torn.
Valediction in left margin of f. 316, front.
Robert Fitzgerald.
That is, omitted from B89.13.12.
Paragraph in right margin of f. 316 back.
Paragraph in centre and left margins of f. 316 back. See also M to Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria, October 1890 (in this edition as 90-10-00i).
The rest of the text is on f. 314. Notwithstanding its position in the bound volume of letters, which suggests that it was part of M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 15 March 1990 (in this edition as 90-03-15a), the paragraph is included here on the basis of its content and the physical state of f. 316, which is completely covered with text, including the margins, whereas the letter of 15 March on f. 313, ends with the valediction about half way down the second page of the back of the folio, leaving the left-hand half of the front of the folio blank with adequate space for this paragraph. These are the only two letters writen by M to Kew in March 1990.

Please cite as “FVM-90-03-27,” 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,