Decr 3d 1823
My dear Sir
I feel it is totally out of my power to send you a list of what Italian plants are desiderata with me; because I have no Italian Flora & no means of knowing what the country possesses. Your better way will be to send me anything from your collection that you can well spare; for even should any of them be species that I may already possess, they will still be acceptable as coming from a country whence I have at present scarcely anything. You are very kind to offer me a copy of Mauri’s Prodromus. <1> I have it not assuredly; but I beg you will not deprive yourself of it unless you have two. I can wait till you return to Italy, when you can procure another. What a pity it is you lost your plants from the Col de Tendi & especially the fine Fritillary, which I should have liked much to have seen. Thank you for the account of Mauri’s distinctions between Helleborine lingua & cordigera. The latter I had never seen fresh. If you are pleased with the Orchideæ I have already published in my Exotic Flora <2> I think you will be still more so with some I have been lately describing for the work; with one in particular, a new Genus (Catasetum of Rich. MSS) with flowers 3 inches long & furnished with a Pollenmass of such an elastic nature that it forces off the anthercase & strikes with considerable force against
o any object that may be near it. It is from Trinidad. Did you gather Ophrys lutea? I have only a poor garden specimen. My Musci Exotici <3> have extended to 22 numbers, forming 2 vols with [illegible] pages & Index & a Synopsis Speciorum & is so far complete. If your copy is not thus complete I hope you will tell me what you want that I may give an order to my Bookseller to supply you. I hope to go on with it soon as I have abundance of subjects.
I am in correspondence with Schwaegrichen <4> at Leipsic & will write to him at once to know if you can have a copy of Sieber’s Plants of Crete <5>. I have some reason to fear they may be all sold: as I desired in the same quarter, that a copy might be sent me; but it did not come with my other things from Leipzig.
I can assure you the seeds you speak of will be very acceptable to our garden; & none the worse for some of them being Italian, from which country our garden possesses as few plants as does my Herbarium. If your friend Gay <6> of Paris would like to exchange some of his duplicate Pyrenæan plants for Exotics, E & W. Indian &c I should be happy to enter into such a communication with him, & it might be mutually advantageous.
I am, my dear Sir, very truly & faithfully yours
W. J. Hooker.
W. H. Talbot Esqre
31. Sackville street
1. Ernesto Mauri (1791–1836) and Antonio Sebastiani, Floræ romanæ prodromus … (Rome: V. Poggioli, 1818).
2. William Jackson Hooker, Exotic Flora: containing figures and descriptions of new, rare or otherwise interesting exotic plants … (Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood and T. Cadell, 3 volumes, 1823–1827).
3. William Jackson Hooker, Musci exotici … (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1818–1820).
5. Franz Wilhelm Sieber (1789–1844), possibly Reise nach der Insel Kreta in greichischen Archipelagus im Jahre 1817 (Leipzig: F. Fleischer, 1823).
6. Jacques Étienne Gay (1768–1864), French botanist.