Specialist science news

Keep up to date with specialist science news from Kew. Find out more about the latest research and projects that scientists and conservationists at Kew are involved in.

Taxus baccata old specimen

Analysis of yew wood

03 Sep 2013

Kew scientists investigate the occurrence of alkaloids in the heartwood of Taxus baccata (European yew).


Seed conservation in the Caribbean’s ‘Emerald Isle’

by: Tom Heller, UK Overseas Territories team blog
27 Aug 2013

Tom Heller from Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank visits the forests of Montserrat in the eastern Caribbean to collect seeds of their native plants with staff from the Department of Environment.

Tephrosia vogelii

Growing the wrong Tephrosia

29 Jul 2013

A plant used by farmers in Africa to control pest insects occurs in two varieties. Only one is effective, and many farmers are growing the wrong type.


Photo of fungi specimens collected by Darwin from Tierra Del Fuego

Revolutionising the Fungarium - a genomic treasure trove?

12 Jul 2013

A DNA sequencing breakthrough has used samples from Kew's Fungarium to show that genetic information can be accessed from even very old samples, holding out the promise of significant discoveries which may have profound impacts on all our lives.


Harvesting cultivated winged yams in the Ikongo region

Improving food security and conserving yam diversity

10 Jul 2013

Through its yam research programme, RBG Kew is providing scientific data contributing to improving food security and conserving yam diversity in some of the lowest GDP per capita countries.


Nettles in Yangzi Cave China

Kew discovers new nettle species in caves

26 Jun 2013

Scientists from China and Kew Gardens have discovered 10 new species of nettle in the caves and gorges of southwestern China.

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Sambucus nigra inflorescence

Elderflower surprise

10 Jun 2013

Scientists at Kew Gardens have discovered compounds new to science in ordinary elderflower drinks.


Photo of Howea belmoreana and H forsteriana

Speciation systems on Lord Howe Island

06 Jun 2013

Lord Howe Island provides evidence in plants for the ‘syngameon hypothesis’ of adaptive evolution.


Photo of Galanthus nivalis capsules

A new typology of seed development in late winter-flowering temperate woodland plants

23 May 2013

Research at the Millennium Seed Bank (RBG Kew) and the University of Reading has identified a new typology of seed development.


hamster searching for seed

What are hard seeds for?

14 May 2013

A new hypothesis has been proposed on why some seeds are hard.


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What's in a collection? The Herbarium at Kew

by: William Milliken, Kew Science blog
07 Mar 2014

William Milliken, Head of Kew's Tropical America team, examines the importance of Kew's collection of over seven million herbarium specimens, and how this resource is being used to tackle the global challenges of our time.

Evelyn Cheesman’s blue orchid

by: André Schuiteman, Kew Science blog
21 Feb 2014

André Schuiteman, senior researcher in orchids at Kew, relates the discovery by the intrepid Evelyn Cheesman of one of the very few blue-flowered epiphytic orchids, Dendrobium azureum, which he recently described as a new species.

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