Kew's projects across Africa
By recording the variety of plant life across Africa we identify threatened species and regions and help save plant life and habitats under threat.
Kew has worked in Africa for many years, and we have built a network of successful partnerships and projects across the continent.
Plant-hunting across Africa
Kew’s African Plants Initiative (API) is an international partnership that records scientific information about the range of plant life in Africa and where they live. This project helps Kew and others to discover more about the world's plant life, improve our understanding of plant life across Africa and save plants and habitats at risk.
Kew provides plant classification expertise and leads the digitisation of collected plant specimens. We help to correctly classify plant specimens, identify the family and genus of different species and how they relate to each other.
Our scientific research helps us to gain a better understanding of how plants can be used to improve lives around the world, now and in the future. Our knowledge is based on 250 years of plant exploration, discovery and gathering of plant data.
Kew shares this vital information online. By opening access to collective knowledge we hope to find out more about the power of plants and empower others to make new discoveries. We also use our collections to identify plant life in Africa under threat of extinction and habitats at risk. We then focus our efforts on saving them through Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership.
All Kew’s knowledge is encapsulated in our collections. We have one of the largest and most diverse collections of living plants, dried plants, economic plants and seeds in the world.
Millennium Seed Bank working in the field
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership in Africa
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership in Africa supports partners across the continent to collect the seeds of plants under threat and look after habitats most at risk. We use the plant specimen collections located in Kew’s herbarium to work out the species and regions in most need of saving.
Plants provide habitats and food for all living creatures and underpin a healthy environment and ecosystem. However human activity, such as the clearing of large areas of vegetation, is threatening plants across the globe.
Help Kew save plant life for our future - save a plant species outright or adopt a seed for just £25
Discover Kew's work across Africa...
Further scientific research and data
- Interactive Key to African plants aims to help plant hunters around the globe to identify plants more accurately in the field.
- Evolution of the Tropical African Genus Hymenostegia. This rainforest tree is unique to Ghana. It is threatened by habitat loss due to its growth in primary rainforests. Primary rainforests are untouched and unspoiled. There are very few rainforests left like this in the world so it is important to look after them.
- Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (PROTA) is an international project aimed at improving public access to interdisciplinary data on the useful plants of tropical Africa, with due respect for traditional knowledge and intellectual property. Kew has been a collaborating partner in PROTA since its inception in 2000.
- Publication of the 17th Congress of the Association for the Taxonomic Study of the Flora of Tropical Africa (AETFAT), 2003
- Survey of Economic Plants for Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SEPASAL)
- African Plants Initiative database