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Kew Science blog

Explore some of the results and activities of our global science and conservation research program, and keep up to date with current developments in Kew science and science policy.
Lab-based Collections Team
28th September 2015

An introduction to Kew's DNA and Tissue Collection

The Lab-based Collections team at Kew describe the DNA and Tissue Collection and its relationship to the wider scientific community.

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Magnolia stellata, a member of Magnolia subgenus Yulania (Image: G. Kite)
14th September 2015

Magnolias, molecules and memories

Compounds new to science have been discovered in magnolia flowers thanks to Kew's small molecule analysis facilities, as Analytical Methods manager, Geoffrey Kite, explains.

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Shrubs of Skytanthus acutus (Apocynaceae) in the flowering desert, June 2015 (Photo: M.Way)
7th September 2015

Rainfall reveals botanical treasure in the Chilean Atacama Desert

After more than a decade of botanical exploration in the north of Chile, scientists from Kew and the Agricultural Research Institute of Chile (INIA) have secured unique seed collections for the Millennium Seed Bank.

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A day in the life of a botanical curator
24th August 2015

A day in the life of a botanical curator

Professor Kathy Willis (Director of Science) pays tribute to Kew’s curators and the huge range of roles they fill, taking inspiration from a poem written by Lesley Walsingham, Assistant Curator, Asia Team.

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Cover of the book, using illustrations of medicinal plants drawn by the Yanomami researchers
10th August 2015

Medicinal knowledge in the Amazon

As the Yanomami of Brazil publish their traditional medicinal knowledge for the first time, in collaboration with Kew, William Milliken explores the transfer of traditional knowledge both within and outside traditional communities.

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Collecting seed of Agave schawii ssp. goldmaniana for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Baja, Mexico (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
3rd August 2015

Safe for the future: seed conservation standards

Elinor Breman reflects on the development and implementation of seed conservation standards across the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership network.

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Maesa ramentacea, a species of tropical Primulaceae (Photo: T. Utteridge).
20th July 2015

More than cowslips: Primulaceae goes tropical

Our improved understanding of plant evolution has resulted in changes to many well-known families. Here, Tim Utteridge and Ruth Bone discuss their Primulaceae research, including the expansion of the family to include several tropical woody members.

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The Lubango Escarpment in SW Angola – an area of high diversity and endemism still revealing new species (Photo: D. Goyder)
6th July 2015

Angola’s hidden flora

Botanist David Goyder describes how Kew’s inventory work and recent participation in a major international expedition to Angola is helping to address gaps in our knowledge of plant diversity in southern Africa.

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Transverse section of Geonoma pinnatifrons subsp. vaga, a palm, showing the vascular bundles in detail. Although woody, this tissue is not secondary xylem (Photo: P. Gasson)
29th June 2015

Wood identification supports legal timber trade

Kew botanist Peter Gasson reveals the key role that wood identification plays in supporting the legal trade of timber and its products.

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Village technicians' tree nursery for the Great Green Wall in Djibo, Burkina Faso (Photo: M Sacande)
17th June 2015

Combating desertification

Kew’s work on the Great Green Wall initiative is highlighted by Moctar Sacande, to mark the United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification.

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Expedition vehicle stuck in mud
8th June 2015

Conserving Madagascar’s orchids

Recent research into orchid mycorrhizal fungi, and why this work is crucial for orchid conservation and habitat restoration in Madagascar, is revealed by Kew scientist Kaz Yokoya.

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Inga edulis in flower (Photo: G Lewis)
1st June 2015

Developing an identification key for the economically important genus Inga

Kew placement student Joe Bishop describes his work developing a quick and reliable tool for identifying species of Inga, an economically important tree genus native to Central and South America.

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22nd May 2015

Linking plant conservation and sustainable development

To mark International Day for Biological Diversity 2015, Tiziana Ulian highlights some of Kew’s projects relating to this year’s theme – Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.

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Booklouse (Liposcelis bostrychophila)
12th May 2015

Battle of the booklice

Kew’s Herbarium and Library are fighting an ongoing battle with pest insects that can feast on dried plant specimens and precious books. Jonathan Farley and Paul Green reveal how they are tackling these infestations.

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Small pugnacious ants (Anoplolepis steingroeveri) swarming a Leucospermum seed as they move it back to their nest (Photo: Adam J M Devenish).
6th May 2015

Invasion of Argentine ants

Iconic South African plants may be under threat from invasive Argentine ants. Kew scientist Adam Devenish investigates.

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Necklace from Peru of seeds of Oenocarpus, Ormosia and Coix lacryma-jobi, the woven band may be of Astrocaryum fibre (EBC 98112: Photo: F. Cook)
27th April 2015

Botanical jewellery

New acquisitions of botanical jewellery in Kew’s Economic Botany Collection illustrate how plant parts can be transformed into fascinating cultural objects.

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Seasonally dry woodland of the inter-Andean valleys of Bolivia (Photo: B.B. Klitgård)
13th April 2015

Documenting Bolivia's bountiful botany

Land-locked Bolivia has a wide range of vegetation types from its eastern plains to the mountainous Andes. After years of international collaboration, including the participation of 11 Kew scientists, Bolivian vascular plants have been comprehensively documented for the first time.

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Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to author a plant name in the Linnean system and author of A Curious Herbal.
30th March 2015

Mind the (gender) gap: Kew's records show fewer than 3% of land plant species published by women

A unique and complete dataset created and maintained by Kew scientists over the last 260 years, has revealed a striking difference in the number of new species of plants described by male and female botanists.

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Liriodendron tulipifera, an eastern North American representative of the magnoliid clade. (Photo: Wolf Eiserhardt)
23rd March 2015

What happens to the tree of life when climate changes?

Wolf Eiserhardt, Marie Curie Fellow at Kew, describes how past extinctions can be used to study the effect of climate change on the tree of life.

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Pressing specimens as part of the botanical inventory
9th March 2015

Resources for restoring Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest

The Bahian Atlantic forests are conservation hotspots. Eve Lucas describes how information gathered from botanical surveys and local knowledge provides an important resource to inform habitat restoration in the region.
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