Introducing Kew's Herbarium
The Herbarium at Kew, one of the largest of its kind, was founded in 1853 and houses 7 million dried and mounted plant specimens from almost every geographical region of the world. It plays a vital role in providing training in areas such as plant identification techniques, taxonomic nomenclature and conservation. It also acts as a centre for information exchange and a channel for networking between plant specialists, students and researchers in other related areas of study from around the world.
Kew's Herbarium offers a series of opportunities for volunteers with either its regional teams, that work in specific geographical areas, or its basic research teams, whose work is centred on systematic botany (i.e. comparative plant biology). Other sections include the GIS Unit that is responsible for mapping (both vegetation and species) and the UK Overseas Territories Programme which carries out conservation and biodiversity research.
The main goals of Kew’s research are to define the units of plant diversity (species and higher categories) and organise them into meaningful classifications that reflect their evolutionary relationships. We then apply that knowledge to conservation science. This work generates vital basic data for habitat and plant conservation and sustainable development strategies.