Plants & Fungi A - Z
Explore our profiles of plants and fungi.
These illustrated profiles contain a wealth of facts, including details on conservation, uses and habitats – as well as Kew’s connections with the species. They have been chosen to inspire interest in plants, detail our science and conservation work and showcase star plants in the Gardens.
This is a constantly growing resource with new profiles added every week - so do be sure to check back regularly.
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A bulbous herb with small white flowers, Caliphruria tenera has not been recorded in the wild since 1853, and is now considered to be possibly extinct.
Callicarpa argentii is one of four new species of Callicarpa recently described from the island of Borneo.
St George's mushroom is one of the few good edible fungi to be found in spring, usually appearing in late April close to St George’s Day (23rd April), hence the popular name.
An African tree producing a spectacular display of pink flowers, Cape chestnut is a popular ornamental.
In the dense, green, tropical forest undergrowth in Africa, the profusion of petals of the bright white flowers of Caloncoba welwitschii provide quite a spectacle.
Calvatia gigantea produces perhaps the largest fruitbody of any fungus, and is aptly referred to as the giant puffball. The unmistakeable fruitbodies, which appear in late summer and autumn, are often the size of footballs and sometimes much larger.
Great camas is a bulbous plant native to North America, with broader leaves than other species of this genus, that bears many star-shaped blue or whitish flowers.
Christmas camellia is an attractive shrub with beautiful white to red flowers and contrasting dark green evergreen leaves.
Tea is the most important non-alcoholic beverage in the world, and over three million tonnes are grown annually.
Camillea leprieurii is a fungus dependent on rainforest trees for survival but can only be easily detected when observed growing out of dead branches.
The pink-flowered liane Camoensia brevicalyx is widely distributed in Africa, but is infrequently collected and poorly-known scientifically.
More: Legume family
The birch-leaved bellflower is a large-flowered species found in north-east Turkey.
Yellow bellflower is unusual amongst the campanulas in having yellow flowers, and is considered rare in many alpine countries.
Canary bell-flower is a winter-flowering scrambler from the Canary Islands, with bright orange bells and copious watery nectar.
This species includes a wide variety of peppers, including chilli peppers used in curries and sweet bell peppers used in salads.
This newly discovered member of the coffee family was found in the threatened Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia, Brazil.
A star of many Western films, the iconic saguaro cactus is a spectacular feature of the Sonoran Desert in south western North America.
The leaves and fruiting catkins of Fang’s hornbeam are larger than those of any other hornbeam.
Across India and other Asian countries, the sap of solitary fishtail palm is fermented to produce an alcoholic drink called palm wine or toddy.
Sweet chestnut is a medium-sized tree that is widely cultivated for its edible nuts contained in prickly husks.
The Madagascar periwinkle is a popular ornamental plant found in gardens and homes across the world, and is also used in the treatment of cancer.
The cotton daisy is one of the more widespread species in the mountainous areas of New Zealand.
A low-growing perennial with beautiful, large, blue flowerheads, perennial cornflower is native to central and southern Europe.
Chamaegigas intrepidus is a rare aquatic plant from Namibia, with a remarkable ability to recover after drought.
Wintersweet is grown chiefly for the wonderful scent produced by its small flowers in late winter and early spring.
The dried roots of Chlorophytum tuberosum are used as a popular tonic and aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine.
Widely cultivated for its nutritious seeds, chickpea is thought to have originated in Turkey, Syria and Iran.
Watermelon has long been valued for its refreshing fruits, which have also been used as an ingredient in cosmetics.
Clathrus archeri, also known as devil's fingers, has a gelatinous egg stage from which the fruitbody arises, its four to eight reddish arms each coated with dark, foul-smelling tissue.
The pagoda flower, so called because of its tall, pyramidal inflorescences, is one of the most spectacular Clerodendrum species.
A striking South American tree, the empty fruits of which may turn up in your potpourri.
Codonopsis tangshen is an unusual climber, bearing subtle, yellowish-green, bell-shaped flowers, with purple markings on the inside; the root is used in China to make a tonic.
The giant beans of Coffea ambongensis are more than twice the size of those used in commercial coffee production.
Coffee is one of the world’s favourite drinks, one of the most important commercial crop-plants, and the second most valuable international commodity; Arabica coffee is considered to produce the finest coffee beans.
Coffea pterocarpa is a newly identified coffee species with distinctive winged berries.
Guadeloupe blackbead has beautiful clusters of creamy-white flowers and stunning red pods shaped like a string of beads and containing black seeds.
A tropical tree from West African rainforests, kola nut seeds are popularly chewed as a caffeine-containing stimulant and are an ingredient in some soft drinks.
The mopane tree is reputed to provide the best fuelwood in Africa.
Believed to be the source of the scented myrrh mentioned in the Bible, Commiphora guidottii is a tree native to Somalia and Ethiopia.
Red crassula is a succulent plant with flat heads of striking, bright scarlet flowers.
Crinum brachynema is a Critically Endangered bulbous plant, with great potential as an ornamental, and is restricted to Gujarat and Maharashtra States in western India.
The bulb, leaves and sap of starry crinum are used in traditional medicine in West Africa for treating a range of ailments from pneumonia to snake-bite.
Woodrow’s crinum lily is a Critically Endangered bulbous plant with great potential as an ornamental, and is restricted to Maharashtra State in western India.
The stunning pale blue flowers of the Turkish Crocus baytopiorum make it one of the most distinctive Crocus species.
The corms of Sieber’s crocus are edible, apparently tasting of hazelnuts, and are eaten raw by mountain shepherds in Greece.
A vine native to Mexico and the USA, Cucurbita pepo has been domesticated for thousands of years and is the source of an astonishing variety of cultivated forms, including Halloween pumpkins, courgettes (zucchini) and squashes.
A tall herb from southwestern India, Indian arrowroot is cultivated for its tubers, which are an important source of starch in times of food scarcity.
An attractive, perennial herb from India, scentless turmeric is cultivated as an ornamental and also used in traditional medicine.
Hill turmeric is an Indian herb used in local and tribal medicine and as a source of arrowroot starch.