The young Darwin admired Alexander von Humboldt. He was greatly influenced by his descriptions of nature. However, a large distance separates Darwin's achievement and his mature, and evolutionary, view of nature from that of Humboldt. Still, Humboldtian "botanical arithmetic" played a crucial role in the development of Darwin's principle of divergence. This essay discusses some aspects of such development, with special emphasis on Darwin's concepts of "place in the economy of nature", "net-work of relations", relativity of adaptation, increasing quantity and variety of life. Particular attention is paid to Darwin's annotations on the Genevan botanist Alphonse de Candolle's "Géographie botanique".
A very special Humboldtian, or Darwin on the quantity and variety of life / La Vergata, Antonello. - (2020), pp. 59-106.