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Document number: 631
Date: 21 Dec 1814
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: DILLWYN Lewis Weston
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Last updated: 29th January 2011

Dear Sir

I will answer your queries & explain the Divisions of the Hypnum <1> as well as I am able, tho’ I hardly know how to express Dr Smiths <2> meaning better than by the terms which he has used – The first comprises those Species which have the Capsules erect & the Shoots rounded like packthread – cylindrical would not be a proper word because the shoots generally become gradually narrower towards their apices, & conical would therefore perhaps answer better, but I believe rounded is the English word used to express teres. In the next section the Leaves are pinnated, & issue only from the two opposite sides of the shoots instead of tiling them all over – The shoots therefore instead of being shaped like packthread are flat like a piece of tape. The direction of the Leaves in the 3rd section is similar & the Species differ only in having the Capsules nodding instead of erect. In the 4th section the Leaves are not two ranked as in the preceeding [sic] ones, but issue indiscriminately from every side, tho’ from their being more expanded laterally than in the other directions the shoot has a flattened form – The 5th Section differs principally from the 1st in having the Capsules drooping – In the 6th Division the Leaves issue from the four opposite sides of the stem, & in the 7th the distinguishing character consists in their being rolled backwards – Hypnum triquetrum & H. cupressiforme are two extremely common species, & will afford you good samples of the 6th & 7th Sections. You are correct in supposing that Funaria muhlenbergsii was discovered since the Flora Brittanica <3> came out. – Every time that I have seen Dr Smith during the last ten years he has assured me that the 4th Vol would be ready in the course of twelve Months, so that I now begin to doubt whether it will ever appear at all – I expect the Talbots will be here next week. I much wish you could have been of the party.

I remain Yrs sincerely
L W Dillwyn

Dec. 21. 1814

W. H. F. Talbot Esq
at The Marquis of Lansdownes <5>
Dec. 21. 1814. <6>


1. See Doc. No: 00629.

2. Sir James Edward Smith (1759–1828), botanist.

3. Smith, Flora Britannica (London: J. Taylor, J. Davis, and J. White, 1800–1804).

4. Dillwyn's Swansea town house.

5. Henry Petty Fitzmaurice, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780–1863), MP, WHFT’s uncle.

6. Written in another hand at the back of address panel.

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