Berkeley was born at Benefield, Northamptonshire, and educated at Rugby School and Christ’s College, Cambridge. Taking holy order in 1837, and vicar of Sibbertoft, near Market Harborough, in 1868. He acquired an enthusiastic love of cryptogamic botany (lichens) in his early years, and soon was recognised as the leading British authority on fungi and plant pathology. Christ’s College made him an honorary fellow in 1883.
As the founder of British mycology, his significant work is contained in the account of native British fungi in Sir William Jackson Hooker’s British Flora (1836), in his Introduction to Cryptogamic Botany (1857), and in his Outlines of British Fungology (1860). His herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is one of the world’s most extensive, containing over 9000 specimens as well as numerous notes and sketches
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