May 22 –
My dear Henry –
I wish I could have known where to write to you between this & Florence for there are so many things I want to tell you to go & see – & which will be too late now to do. So I can only say I hope you may have been to Pisa – saw the botanic Garden & in it two plants I have often mentioned to you – Campanula punctata of Caucasus & Poterium spinosum of Constantinople both now in flower – & Savi <1> himself whom I only saw for five minutes
& who I hope you went also to Lucca baths which I think delightful the blue & white Campanula medium looks very handsome on the rocks – as does also a fine panicled saxifrage which I leave to you to name & one or two species or varieties of Cerastium with large flowers & a pink Polygala.
I went to see the marble quarries at Carrara in a fine wild situation – & found there a plant I cant make out if I thought it safe I would leave it & some others in this letter but think it the best plan
t to keep them. I found Saxifraga rotundifolia I think on rocks by that branch of the Magra through which you have to go so often between Spezia & Borghetto – but was not lucky enough to see the Helleborine lingua & cordigera which Mrs Scrope <2> (who is here) found in abundance & a very remarkable variety of the cordigera with pale blossoms very large of which she had seen so many that it seems to be a very decided variety neither of these appears to be the longipetali as we found it on Mte Fistanio. At Lucca Baths I found a very handsome Erodium with large leaves Myosotis palustris – quite different from any we have seen lately Melittis grandiflora I think Campanula rapunculas & plants which seem to be other campanulas not come into flower two small brooms – I think if you have been to Lucca baths you will join with me in recommending it as a stage or resting place between Rome & Como it is so green & so cool.
On the highest mountain between Spezia & Chiavari I found Euphorbia spinosa abundant. Near Genoa I found nothing no antirrhinum latifolium – only Allium roseum & Echium glabiostamineum. They talk here of a winter four years ago which did more harm than last. this shows that the weather here
belongs to the depends on continental circumstances of which the peninsular part of Italy is independent it was the hard winter in the North of Europe.
I start early tomorrow for Savona & try to make my way over the mountains somehow to Turin – by Acqui & Alessandria Is not the road from Lucca here beautiful now the Pontremoli road to Parma is actually open & the new road from Lucca to Modena will be finished in two years – it will draw a great many people to this part of Italy. Write to me at Paris or London according to your judgment.
W T H F S
the Cerastiums dry so ill & so alike I will not enclose them but only a flower of my Carrara plants – & the two saxifrages –
Your press <3> answers very well – you may find Euphorbia paralias at Chiavari & cyparissias every where –
Monsieur W. H. F. Talbot
à la poste restante
1. Gaetano Savi (1769–1844), author of Trattato degli alberi della Toscana (Florence: G. Piatti, 1811).
2. Emma Phipps Scrope, wife of George Julius Duncombe Poulett Scrope (1797–1876), MP & scientist.