Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
I am very much obliged to you for your letter containing so many valuable commendations and suggestions on my Darwinism. They will be very useful to me in preparing another edition. Living in the country with but few books, I have often been unable to obtain the latest information, but for the purpose of the argument, the facts of a few years back are often as good as those of today, which in their turn will be modified a few years hence.
You refer to there being five species of Aquilegia in Colorado. But have they not each their stations, two seldom growing together? During a few weeks botanising in Colorado, I saw only two species, coerulea and brevistyla [saximontana. Ed.], each in their own area. Though the Andrenidae are not usually gayly coloured, yet they are not inconspicuous. The Chrysididae are I should think coloured so brilliantly partly perhaps to simulate stinging species and partly to prevent their being taken for fruits or seeds when rolled up. They are very hard, and like many hard beetles are coloured as a warning of inedibility.
In the Rocky Mountains I think there is a real scarcity of Monocotyledons, especially bulbous Liliaceae and Amaryllids and Orchises. This struck me as being the case. You appear to have so much knowledge of details in so many branches of natural history, and also to have thought so much on many of the more recondite problems, that I shall be much pleased to receive any further remarks or corrections on any other portions of my book.
I am devoted to gardening, and grow all the curious and interesting plants I can get. If you have any species of Calochortus, Cypripedium, or Fritillaria in your neighborhood, I should be glad of a few bulbs or tubers. They travel well packed tightly in moss, and come by sample post at a very low rate.
I have moved from Godalming to this place for a rather milder climate and more sheltered position.
Believe me, yours very truly
Copyright: Alfred Russel Wallace Literary Estate.