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Darwin Correspondence Project

To M. J. Berkeley   [March 1841]

12 Upper Gower St


My dear Sir

I have received your very obliging note & likewise your enclosure of to day—

I am delighted that you have found the edible fungus botanically curious— I shall be much interested in reading your paper—1 I trust you corrected the language of such extracts, as you thought worth taking— I did not think any were so—

I write now to inform you that I have probably led you into one small error— I stated that the Fungus grows on the Fagus antarctica,2 but I am almost certain that the F. betuloides is the common tree of Tierra del Fuego, & as this Fungus abounds every where it must grow on this latter species— it may (& I believe does) grow on the F. antarctica. You can correct this in proof, if you think it desirable—3

I saw my brother-in law—Hensleigh Wedgwood, your former schoolfellow & collegian,4 to day & he begged to be very kindly remembered to you.—

Believe me dear Sir | Your’s truly obliged | C. Darwin


Berkeley had undertaken to describe CD’s Beagle fungus specimens and had already published one article (Berkeley 1840). The paper referred to, ‘On an edible fungus from Tierra del Fuego … ’ (Berkeley 1845), was read at the Linnean Society on 16 March 1841. For CD’s description, see Journal of researches, pp. 298–9.
See letter to M. J. Berkeley, [26 November 1840]. Fagus antarctica is a synonym of Nothofagus antarctica the Antarctic beech.
The correction was made in time. Fagus betuloides is a synonym of Nothofagus betuloides, Magellan's beech.
Both attended Rugby and Christ’s College, Cambridge.


Berkeley, Miles Joseph. 1840. Notice of some fungi collected by C. Darwin, Esq., during the expedition of HM Ship Beagle. Annals of Natural History 4: 291–3.

Berkeley, Miles Joseph. 1845. On an edible fungus from Tierra del Fuego, and an allied Chilian species. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 19: 37–43.


Looks forward to the paper on CD’s edible fungus specimen from Tierra del Fuego [read 16 Mar 1841; Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 19 (1845): 37–43].

Sends a correction: Fagus betuloides, not F. antarctica, is the common tree of Tierra del Fuego.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Miles Joseph Berkeley
Sent from
London, Upper Gower St, 12
Source of text
Shropshire Archives (SA 6001/134/47)
Physical description
ALS 3pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 591,” accessed on 21 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2