London: John Murray, 1876. Original green cloth with gilt-decorated spine.
First Edition, which consisted of only 1,500 copies. After dealing with evolution in humans in earlier books, Darwin here turns to evolution in the plant world -- specifically, the advantages of cross-fertilization and the disadvantages of self-fertilization in the outlook for a plant's reproductive success. The publisher, aware that this subject matter was "too technical and too detailed to command a wide sale" [Freeman], limited the first edition to 1,500 copies -- compared to 7,000 and 3,000 respectively for Darwin's prior two books, THE EXPRESSION OF THE EMOTIONS (1872) and INSECTIVOROUS PLANTS (1875). As Freeman points out, an oddity of this book is that "Fertilisation," though spelled with an "s" throughout the text, is spelled with a "z" on the binding.
This copy is complete with the three-line errata slip facing p. viii; no ads are called for, other than the ones on the title verso. The volume is in bright, close-to-fine condition (original brown-coated endpapers slightly cracking). Freeman p. 152. Item #15003