To William Thiselton-Dyer   25 August 1890



It is with sorrow, dear Mr Dyer, that I hear of your ailing. Somehow aged persons, like myself, cannot imagine, that the younger can be ill, and as you seem to have a strong constitution, and as you were on the way of recovery, I anticipate, that you are now quite well again for the full advantage of the great Institution, which you administrate, and for all benefits of those dear to you.

Replying seriatim to your kind letter2 I like first to say, that the question, regarding the Livistona, shall be further followed up. In Victoria the two places, in which this palmgenus is represented, has become lately accessible. I will report progress on this inquiry from time to time, so far my results may go. Have you Livistona Mariae growing with its copper-colored young foliage?3

Probably the specimen of the alpine Schoenus of New Guinea was very poor for Kew. I had little of it.

Humea attains in deep forest-ravines of Gippsland4 a great hight, where Telopea oreades reaches to 40 feet. Places for exuberance of growth occur similarly in Tasmania, for instance in the deep gullies at South-Port, where Prionotes cerinthoides5 will gain a height of 30'!

The little disturbance in my relation to Mr Bailey has passed, and I give him again such help, as I can, though I cannot always leave urgent work in my multifariously taxed Department, to attend to any questions of his at once. I have to use great caution in accepting his determining of plants, and therefore must carefully reinvestigate in each case. Lately he published as new a Scleria,6 but I found and informed him, that it is Exocarya scleroides He describes a Bambusa from leaves alone, which I could have done long ago therefore the genus is not fixed.7 Such data I cannot accept for the Census.8 He persists even in latest prints, notwithstanding my remonstrance, to make an Acrotriche a Monotoca; but he has at last become convinced, that his Alsophila Capensis is A. Rebeccae!9 — I should not think the identification of the African, the American and the Asiatic Alsophila Capensis safe, until the stems have been compared side to side. With your great resources, you would likely be able, to get stems from the three continents.

Best thanks for the new numbers of your important Bulletin.10 I will send by next mail a specimen of Lepistemon urceolatus.11

The ingenious amputation-system of cycadeous stems, partly decayed, is quite a novel achievement in horticulture. I have introduced here lately mirr ors in horticutural shows and in conservatories. I was not aware, that I was forestalled in Belgium. It is impossible to read many horticultural journals, [and] medicine, chemistry, geography always have to be attended to also.12 I have grown quite impatient about the University-honor. Perhaps while I write, the due homage is offered you.13

With regardful remembrance

always your

Ferd. von Mueller


I never saw a note about mirrors in the Gardeners Chronicle, but may have overlooked such.14



Alsophila Capensis

Alsophila Rebeccae


Exocarya scleroides


Lepistemon urceolatus

Livistona Mariae


Prionotes cerinthoides



Telopea oreades

Date stamped: Royal Gardens Kew 29. Sep. 90. Annotated in red pencil by Thiselton-Dyer(?): W W [i.e. William Watson] and in pencil And 22.10.90 (letter not found).
Letter not found.
Have you … foliage in left margin of f. 325 back, with intended position indicated by asterisk.
Prionotes cerinthoides is underlined, and annotated beneath the name, ask for seeds, in red pencil, by Thiselton-Dyer(?).
Scleria ustulata, Bailey (1890), p. 81.
when I … ago written in central margin of f, 326, with intended position indicated by asterisks. Bambusa moreheadiana, Bailey (1889), p. 71.
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 27 March 1890. Bailey (1889), p. 74, listed Alsophila rebeccae as the most abundant tree-fern on Mt Bellenden Ker. Meston (1889), p. 110, in his general commentary on the Mt Bellenden Ker expedition, mentioned that Bailey reported seeing Monotoca lineata, otherwise known from Tasmania; the species was also listed as a Qld plant in Bailey (1890). In B89.13.12, p. 177, M retained both Acrotriche and Monotoca within his concept of Styphelia(into which without explanation in B80.13.10, p. 11 he had recombined Monotoca lineata); thus it has not been possible to determine his criteria for the distinction between the two.
Kew Bulletin of miscellaneous information.
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 6 April 1890 (in this edition as 90-04-06a).
It is impossible … also written in margin of f. 326, back , with intended position indicated by an asterisk.
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 18 July 1890 (in this edition as 90-07-18a).
See M to W. Thiselton-Dyer, 27 March 1890.

Please cite as “FVM-90-08-25a,” in Ɛpsilon: The Ferdinand von Mueller Collection accessed on 25 January 2022,