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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The Venus flytrap “eats” insects and sometimes even small frogs that become trapped in its modified, toothed leaves; if the prey struggles, the trap will close even tighter.
Bako, only recently discovered and described, symbolises the importance of wild yams and their biodiversity to the Malagasy people.
Elephant's foot yam is a spectacular shrubby climber from South Africa, which is threatened due to over-collection.
More: Kew discoveries
Dioscorea orangeana is a newly described, threatened species of edible yam from northern Madagascar.
Dioscorea strydomiana is a recently discovered yam from South Africa. It is critically endangered and one of the most unusual yam species anywhere in the world.
A yam from Southeast Asia, India and China, Dioscorea wallichii has edible tubers that can grow to over one metre long.
A highly variable, extremely widespread plant with numerous medicinal uses, hopbush is known by over fifty different common names.
Doronicum orientale is an early-flowering, lemon-yellow daisy, with a single flowerhead on an upright stem, and soft, rounded leaves.
Dracaena jayniana is an endangered dragon tree from Thailand, the dried red sap of which is used to make a tonic drink.
Only recently placed in a genus of its own, the Latin name of this palm honours a Kew botanist and palm expert.
In late summer and autumn, the tall flowering spikes of the maritime squill are a conspicuous feature of dry, barren hillsides in coastal areas around the Mediterranean.
A beautiful new species of palm discovered by Kew botanists in Madagascar’s newest protected area.
This dwarf palm from Madagascar is threatened by forest destruction. It is only known from three sites, and fewer than fifty Dypsis brevicaulis plants have been found in the wild.
A clustering palm, with leaflets that look as though they have been ‘nibbled’, Dypsis gronophyllum is known only from the Vondrozo area of south-east Madagascar.
A highly threatened new species of stemless palm discovered by Kew botanists on the edge of Madagascar’s newest protected area.
This stunning new species of palm was discovered by Kew botanists in Madagascar’s newest protected area.
Seeds of Ecbolium tanzaniense, a rare Tanzanian shrub with striking livid-green flowers, were successfully collected by Kew staff and Tanzanian partners on a joint expedition in 2008.
More: Saving species
Narrow-leaved purple coneflower is a beautiful North American tallgrass prairie plant, long prized for its medicinal qualities.
An attractive North American daisy, Echinacea purpurea has been in cultivation for over 200 years.
The densely-spined strawberry cactus is known for its hedgehog-like appearance and strawberry-flavoured fruits.
Oriental paper bush is a beautiful, winter-flowering scented shrub, which has bark valued for making high-quality paper in Japan.
The Eastern Cape giant cycad originates from South Africa, is long-lived and slow growing, and is popular as an ornamental plant.
This giant Kenyan cycad is a living fossil of the plant world – Encephalartos tegulaneus is a member of an ancient group and impressive, but also rare and only found on remote hills.
Wood’s cycad is an extremely rare plant. Along with its striking appearance, this makes it one of the most sought-after cycad species in the world.
This striking new species of bromeliad was discovered during conservation-based fieldwork in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
More: Kew discoveries
This new species of bromeliad, with comb-like leaves, was discovered during conservation-based fieldwork in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
More: Kew discoveries
The golden lotus banana is a small but stunning member of the banana family.
A staple food crop in its native Ethiopia, the Ethiopian banana is also a popular ornamental giving gardens a lush tropical effect with its large decorative leaves and striking purple midrib.
In 2006, Kew conservationists rescued several plants of the endangered Montserrat orchid from dead trees on the volcano-ravaged island of Montserrat and installed them in the security of the island’s botanic garden.
A vigorous terrestrial orchid with bright orange and yellow flowers, Epidendrum radicans is grown as an ornamental and for cut flowers.
Epimedium flavum is a herbaceous perennial with upright stems and bright yellow flowers, produced mainly in spring.
Barrenwort is an evergreen, herbaceous perennial with stiff, heart-shaped leaflets and spikes of small, yellow flowers in spring.
One of the coral trees: a scarlet beauty with a sting in its tail.
Brand's mallet is a rare and endangered ornamental Eucalyptus recently described from Fitzgerald River National Park in SW Australia.
River red gum is a beautiful tree found along river banks and in valleys in Australia.
The principal source of eucalyptus oil, Tasmanian blue gum is a tall, evergreen tree native to Tasmania and Victoria and is the most widely cultivated eucalypt across Australia and the rest of the world.
Sweedman's mallee is a knee-high rare eucalypt of horticultural merit recently discovered on the burnt coastal slopes of the Mount Arid granite inselberg in SW Australia.
Pineapple lily is a summer-flowering, bulbous perennial with an impressive, long-lasting display of star-shaped flowers.
The large-leaved spindle is a shrub with scarlet fruits and brilliant red leaves in autumn.
Medusa’s head is so named because of its numerous snake-like stems.
A small tree or shrub from Mexico and Guatemala, poinsettia is cultivated for its striking red bracts, and potted forms are the basis of a lucrative Christmas industry.
The upright spurge is an annual herb, widespread throughout Europe but uncommon in the UK where it is found mainly in a small area around Gloucester.
Golden daisy bush is a South African shrub bearing bright yellow flower heads and attractive, narrowly divided leaves.
Copper beech trees can be propagated by grafting to maintain the colour of the leaves.
Blue marguerite is a South African perennial, popularly cultivated for its bright blue flower heads.
The banyan is a type of strangling fig, native to India and Pakistan. Known in Hindu mythology as 'the wish-fulfilling tree', banyans represent eternal life.
Queen of the prairie is an attractive bog garden perennial, with clusters of rose-pink flowers and fragrant leaves.
Weeping forsythia is an elegant, hardy shrub, which is a welcome sight in spring, thanks to its abundance of bright golden-yellow flowers on bare branches.
White ash is a rapidly growing timber tree native to eastern North America. Its shock-resistant timber is used for tool handles and baseball bats.
One of Europe’s largest native deciduous trees, European ash provides tough, elastic timber that is widely used for furniture and also used to make tennis racquets and cricket stumps.