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Plants & fungi

Growing the wrong Tephrosia

Tephrosia vogelii
Mon, 2013-07-29 11:59

Synthetic pesticides can be problematic in African farming systems due to environmental persistence, exposure to hazardous chemicals, cost and adulteration (dilution) by unscrupulous traders. Pesticidal plants provide the poorest farmers with a low-cost alternative that is environmentally benign and less toxic.

Kew discovers new nettle species in caves

Nettles belonging to the genus Elatostema growing in Yangzi cave, China (Image: A. Monro)
Wed, 2013-06-26 17:20

Southwestern China, Myanmar and northern Vietnam contain one of the oldest exposed outcrops of limestone in the world. Within this area are thousands of caves and gorges. Wei Yi-Gang (Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangxi Institute of Botany) and Alex Monro (Kew) have been exploring these caves and gorges for plants from the nettle family (Urticaceae).

Elderflower surprise

Sambucus nigra inflorescence
Mon, 2013-06-10 14:03

While assessing the authenticity and quality of traded plant extracts during a project on ‘Quality botanical extracts for skin and health products’, funded by EPSRC and Procter & Gamble, Kew scientists were surprised to detect major chemical constituents in a commercial extract of elderflower (inflorescences of Sambucus nigra) that had not been reported in the scientific literature.

Speciation systems on Lord Howe Island

Howea belmoreana and H. forsteriana have evolved into separate species while growing together on Lord Howe Island (Image: W. Baker)
Thu, 2013-06-06 12:56

On Lord Howe Island, previous research has shown that in several distantly related plant genera speciation has taken place without any geographic isolation of populations (Papadopulos et al., 2011).