Conference Reports


This highly successful conference at Kew attracted nearly 200 participants from SE Asia, Europe, North America and Australasia. A keynote address was presented by the Earl of Cranbrook on 'A Strategy for Nature Conservation Towards 2000'. The rest of the proceedings comprised 46 papers, 58 posters and 13 workshops. The papers and posters covered a wide range of subjects, from cladistics to ethnobotany and phytogeography, and emphasised the large amount of botanical work being carried out in the Malesian region. The workshops dealt with broad themes such as computer applications, ecology and specific plant groups such as aroids, legumes, palms and ferns. The latter families were chosen as being large groups which are currently being worked on for the Flora. Progress reports were given on the Flora as a whole and time was allowed for discussion on future priorities.

There is still much to do before this vast Flora nears completion but the conference clearly demonstrated that important work is taking place on many fronts. It also fostered goodwill and cooperation between institutes and individuals worldwide, with new contacts being forged as well as old ones strengthened. A symposium volume is now in preparation. The next Flora Malesiana Symposium will be in Malaysia in 1998.

Contact: Dr John Dransfield (0181-332 5225)

Email John Dransfield


Delegates from over 40 countries gathered at Kew for this symposium which commemorated the centenary of the birth of Prof. R.E. Holttum who worked at Kew for almost 40 years following his retirement. Lectures dedicated to Prof. Holttum were given by his life-long friend Prof. W. Stearn and also by Mike Price, who over many years had an extensive correspondence with Holttum.

A total of 115 papers and posters were presented which covered the diversity of ferns and their scientific study. A series of workshops provided hands-on sessions and were very popular with the delegates. As is now common at botanical meetings, recent advances in DNA sequences played a major part in presenting new concepts of fern classification and evolution. Important papers were presented from all the regions represented, emphasising the increased interest in the scientific study of the pteridophytes worldwide.

Contact: Bob Johns (0181-332 5278)

Email Bob Johns


  • Reproductive Biology in Systematics, Conservation & Economic Botany (2-5 Sept. 1996, RBG Kew) marks the 25th anniversary of the arrival at Kew of its former Director, Prof. Jack Heslop-Harrison, and Dr Yolande Heslop-Harrison, who together have had a lasting influence in the field of reproductive biology. Sessions will include reproductive characters in systematics, pollinator selection in breeding system evolution, and plant reproductive systems in conservation and sustainable agriculture. Details from Dr Simon Owens.

    The jade vine, Strongylodon macrobotrys, produced pods this year following self-pollination by Chrissie Prychid, who is studying the reproductive biology of this rare plant from the Philippines with Dr Simon Owens. These were the first pods produced at Kew for 32 years.

  • Plants for Food and Medicine (1-6 July 1996, Imperial College, Natural History Museum, RBG Kew) combines the 4th biennial meeting of the International Society for Ethnopharmacology and the 37th annual meeting of the Society for Economic Botany, emphasising the role of plants in both food and medicine. Details from David Field.

  • The International Association of Wood Anatomists' European meeting (2-4 Oct. 1996, Linnean Society) will include visits to Kew and sessions on the handling and interpretation of wood anatomical data. Details from Dr David Cutleror Dr Peter Gasson.

CEB News

The new Centre for Economic Botany (CEB), established in 1994, provides a focus for Kew's work on the economic uses of plants. By the end of 1995 it will be moving in its entirety to the Sir Joseph Banks Building alongside the Economic Botany Collections already housed there.

Contact: Dr Hew Prendergast (0181-332 5706)

Email Hew Prendergast

SEPASAL in Kenya

On behalf of the Survey of Economic Plants of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (SEPASAL), Steve Davis and James Morley visited Kenya to meet representatives from national and non-governmental organisations as well as from the United Nations Environment Programme. Under discussion were the feasibility of establishing a network flow of information on useful plants of drylands in Kenya, and the adoption by databases in the region of the Economic Botany Data Collection Standard by Frances Cook, published in March 1995 for the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases for Plant Sciences.

Contact: Steve Davis (0181-332 5772)

Email Steve Davis

Plantas do Nordeste

Fernando Dantas de Araujo, who has just been appointed to the post of Brazilian General Coordinator for Plantas do Nordeste.

People and Plants

The CEB is Kew's link within the People and Plants Initiative that was set up with UNESCO and WWF in 1992. Gary Martin (WWF), last November, produced a highly successful book Ethnobotany: A Methods Manual that is already going through a second printing. Further volumes in the People and Plants Series are nearing completion. With UNESCO and WWF colleagues, Alison Hoare (funded initially by WWF and now by Kew) has been compiling the People and Plants Handbook: Sources of Information on the Management of Biological Resources, Conservation and Community Development. It will be published in 1996.

Contact: Alison Hoare (0181-332 5771)

Email Alison Hoare

Back to Font Page