At the 21st World Orchid Conference (WOC) in Johannesburg (10–14 September 2014), Kew scientists Mark Chase and Alec Pridgeon were awarded Fellowships (and Gold Medals) of the Orchid Society of South East Asia (OSSEA). The awards were largely in recognition of their role in editing Genera Orchidacearum, of which Volume 6 covered many taxa that are well represented in South East Asia.
A team of Kew scientists have assessed the extinction risk of the palm species of Madagascar using the latest Red List categories and criteria defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their results, published in PLoS ONE, indicate that over 80% of the 195 palm species (of which 192 are endemic) are threatened. This proportion of threatened species exceeds all other plant groups in Madagascar for which comprehensive evaluations are available and it is nearly four times that estimated for plants globally.
The botanists went to south-west Tasmania with colleagues from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and other agencies. Working in collaboration with the Tasmanian Botanic Garden, seeds from all the plants they encountered were collected and are now safely stored both in Tasmania and in the vaults at the Millennium Seed Bank. The team’s fieldwork allowed horticulturists at Wakehurst to grow rare and unusual shrubs and trees from these cold rain forests, including Banksia marginata.