Torino: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1878; 1884. 8vo. 312; 239 pp. FIRST EDITIONS IN ITALIAN. Original printed wrappers. Item #15825
I: First and only Italian edition of Insectivorous plants, first published in London in 1875. Darwin’s meticulous study of the adaptation of plants, particularly under impoverished conditions. A chance observation of flies caught on a leaf of Drosera rotundifolia led the author to a series of experiments and subsequent conclusion about the significance of carnivorous feeding and how this remarkable adaptation ensures the survival of the plant. Of particular interest to Darwin was his observation that the living plant cells possessed a capacity for irritability and response much like that of the nerve and muscle cells of animals.
II: First Italian edition of Different forms of flowers on plants of the same species (London, 1877). A very technical work devoted to dimorphism of plants with a specific attention to primrose and primulaceous plants. Darwin noticed that in some species flowers differ by the lengths of their anthers and styles, like the primroses, which show two conditions, or loosestrife, which shows three. This work was only translated into French and German during Darwin’s lifetime.