Plants & Fungi from Kew
Kew's international work helps to discover and describe the world’s plant and fungal diversity, conserve plants and habitats, promote the sustainable use of plants, and inspire an appreciation of plants and the environment.
New initiative to protect UK trees
Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) has established the country’s first national collection of tree seeds – the UK National Tree Seed Project.
Seeds from the UK’s best loved and most vulnerable trees and shrubs will be collected and protected in long-term storage in the vaults of the MSB at Wakehurst Place in Sussex.
Yew (Image: Aljos Farjon)
A priority list of 50 trees and shrubs will initially be targeted for collection, including:
- Fraxinus excelsior (European ash) - currently under threat from ash dieback.
- Taxus baccata (yew) - a native conifer rich in myths, legends and folklore.
- Fagus sylvatica (common beech) - vulnerable to an invasive pathogen causing bleeding cankers.
- Betula pendula (silver birch) - betulinic acid from the bark has shown activity against cancerous cells and HIV.
Adopt a seed - sword lily
Sword lily (Gladiolus dzhavakheticus) is known from only a very few locations in Georgia and Armenia.
This eye-catching plant grows on sub-alpine meadows which are intensively used as hay meadows, an activity which threatens sword lily populations and reduces the chance of reproducing by seed.
Sword lily (Image: David Kikodze, Tbilisi Botanical Garden and Institute of Botany)
You can help Kew's Millennium Seed Bank save plant species at risk of extinction by adopting a seed.
More about sword lily
New Tropical Carnivorous Zone
Opening for spring 2013, Kew's new Tropical Carnivorous Zone can be found in the Princess of Wales Conservatory.
The display features carnivorous pitcher plants Nepenthes truncata, N. rafflesiana, the 'fanged' N. bicalcarata, N. vietchii and the recently described N. robcantleyi, which has been displayed at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The zone also features elephant yam (Amorphophallus paeoniifolius), voodoo lily (A. variabilis) and a new hybrid at Kew A. decus-silvae × gigas, plus a range of epiphytic ferns and orchids including Bulbophyllum species.
DNA Bank celebrates 20th anniversary
Experts from Kew talk about the significance of DNA research and how it's revolutionised the way we understand plants today.
Kew's DNA Bank safeguards more than 42,000 samples of wild plant DNA, representing some 34,000 plant species. Over the years it has helped to revolutionise how scientists approach botany.
Around 2,000 requests for DNA Bank material are now handled every year. Samples are used by researchers worldwide to further plant research and conservation.
Samples in Kew's DNA Bank include species that are now extinct – for example DNA from the last known plant of St Helena olive.
Plants & Fungi - news and blogs
25 Jan 2013
He may be a Seed Morphologist but Wolfgang Stuppy of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank discovers there is more to the snake gourd than just some strange fruit and eccentric seeds.
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