Near Tallahassee June 5th 1834
Your respected favour of the 23rd March last came regularly to hand, and, like yourself, I must plead the pressure of my engagements for the delay of my answer. I am engaged in establishing a plantation in this country, and I can assure you that the business is no sinecure. Fond as I am of botany, and numerous as the attractions to its pursuit around me, I have been compelled during a great part of the time since I recieved your letter to turn my back on it, and to neglect the preparation of those plants and specimens you have requested. I have been six months absent from my family, and am now on the point of setting out to rejoin them in North Carolina. But if I should live to return to Florida, the pressure of my business will be less, and I promise to send you then both living and dead specimens of every thing in this part of Florida that is likely to have sufficient interest. Should it be possible for me to visit New York after reaching New Bern, I will carry with me [added: the] few interesting specimens now in my herbarium.
I am most sincerely pleased to learn that you contemplate publishing a General Flora of North America, and I will do all in my power to promote your object. If I might offer any suggestions I would say that the work should be rendered as popular in its plan as may be practicable without departing from the reign of science. For instance let each generic & specific term
in the index (or in the body of the work) be marked with its proper accent. Let all established common names be given, also the [added: usual] colours of the corollas, (either by abbreviation or otherwise) and let the typography be in [crossed out: of] the best style, and the errors of the press very carefully noted. I have not your flora of the Northern & Middle States. I have however your edition of Lindley in which the errors of the press are numerous. Probably that work was hurried through the press, or circumstances may have prevented your correcting it more strictly.
I was not before aware of Mr. Nuttall's having described [added: and named] the Sarracenia mentioned by me in Silliman's Journal, or I would not have presumed to alter his name of the plant.
Before the receipt of your letter I had also prepared & forwarded to that Journal some "Remarks on the Genus Sarracenia" in which I advanced the opinion that this species is the true original of Michaux's S. psittacina. This would also have been withheld or qualified had your letter been recieved before it was sent. I have not recieved the last (the April Number) and therefore do not know whether the article has appeared.
I will take this occasion to state that I now think it probable that what I have prepared as "Thyrsanthus floridana" is but a variety of T. frutescens, and it is possible that Dr. Loomis's "Amorpha caroliniana" is but a variety of A. fruticosa. On this subject I would like to have your opinion.
Baptisia simplicifolia has not yet flowered. Its fruit however shows is a Baptisia, and its leaves show it to be very distinct from
all the other species. As soon as I can procure some seeds of the white flowered Argemone I will send them to you. I have now but little doubt that the arborescent Taxus growing in Florida is the T. baccata. Its leaves, its red berries, and the arrangement of the male & female flowers all agree with that species. You shall have some specimens at a future time.
I found in Florida more than a year ago a plant which I can not reduce to any of the North American genera yet described. It has the aspect of our herbaceous Smilax, but its calix (or corolla?) is four leaved (or 4 parted?) and coloured (somewhat discoloured) peduncles axillary, 2 flowered, leaves rounded toward the summit, with [added: 5 or 7] 7 or 9 prominent nerves on the under surface, whole plant very glabrous, 10 to 12 inches high.
There is now in bloom [crossed out: illegible] [added: here an] undescribed plant of much beauty and singularity. It is probably a Malva, but [added: the] outer calix is sometimes wanting, and the leaves vary much in form. I have called it "Malva nuttalloides", and it makes a near approach to the genus Nuttallia. The petals are large, fringed, and of a beautiful purple.
On my arrival at New Bern Island be much pleased to hear from you. Dr. Loomis has added to our catalogue "Obolaria virginica" and you are requested to strike out under Popular the species balsamifera which got there by some strange mistake.
I remain respectfully your obt[obedient] serv[servant] H. B. Croom
To Dr. J. Torrey
N. B. My projected exploration of the Peninsula of Florida is for some indefinite future time when my private affairs may permit it with convenience.
How does it happen that none of our authors give a place to the Wild Orange of East Florida? Is it Citrus aurantium? Or undescribed?
To John Torrey M. D. New York.
They are called "Bitter-sweet" and if the species has to be named might be "Citrus dulcamara" if no more appropriate name should appear.
And. [Answered] verbally
Washington City June 15th.
I received your favour of the 27th ult [ultimo] (postmarked 31st) on the evening before [crossed out: the day] I set out from New Bern. Having stopped some days on the way, and expecting to spend two or three days in Philadelphia I have thought it best to comply with your request to forward additional specimens of our puzzling plant.
I regret that the flowers [added: in my specimens] are generally young, and I have thought it best to enclose you another specimen of the plant with the flowers.
This plant has some of the root with it, and I also send a better portion of the root of another specimen. I shall be sorry if you [crossed out: are] be still left in doubt about this plant.
I have been spending a few days here looking at the great men of the nation. I set out tomorrow and will be in New York early next week. I will take the first opportunity of seeing you after my arrival. How would you like an excursion in August or September to some of the least visited parts of North Carolina, Roanoke Island and the Dismal Swamp? Yours truly H.B. Croom