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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Frerea indica is an endangered succulent restricted to Maharashtra in western India.
Snake’s head fritillary has stunning, chequer-patterned flowers, and has become quite rare in the wild.
Thunberg fritillary is widely cultivated and has been grown commercially as a medicine in China for 700 years.
A small shrub from Madagascar, Gagnebina commersoniana was named in honour of the 18th century French naturalist J.-P. Commerson.
More: Legume family
The common snowdrop is one of the most popular of all cultivated bulbous plants, and its flowering is traditionally seen to herald the end of winter.
Galanthus panjutinii is an endangered snowdrop from Russia and Georgia.
A snowdrop with wide, green, shiny leaves, Galanthus woronowii is currently the subject of research into sustainable harvesting of bulbous plants.
Cleavers is a botanical hitchhiker with a medicinal past, present and future.
Native to west tropical Africa, Gardenia nitida is a small tree or undershrub with woody fruits and strongly-scented flowers.
The large, showy, creamy-white flowers of the white gardenia have an overpowering scent, which is particularly noticeable at night and typical of moth-pollinated plants.
Treasure flowers, originally from South Africa, have been in cultivation since the 19th century, but are now also invasive plants in some parts of the world.
Stemless gentian is a central European species and can be seen on the back of the Austrian € 0.01 (one euro cent) coin. It has also been chosen as the logo of the Alpine Garden Society.
Farrer’s geranium is described as one of the most delicate and charming of all geraniums.
Geranium macrorrhizum is an aromatic perennial with attractive soft leaves and pink or purplish flowers, and provides good ground cover.
Gilbertiodendron dewevrei is a large, evergreen tree that dominates forests in parts of central Africa.
Ginkgo biloba, or maidenhair tree, has been described as a ‘living fossil’ because it is the sole survivor of an ancient group of trees older than the dinosaurs.
The eye-catching sword lily adds beauty to sub-alpine landscapes and lakesides, especially in foggy weather, when only its pink flowers are visible.
Flame lily is a climber with spectacular red and yellow flowers, but all parts of the plant (especially the tubers) are extremely poisonous and can be fatal if eaten.
A herb belonging to the pea and bean family, liquorice is cultivated for its underground stems that are used to flavour confectionery; it is also valued for its medicinal qualities.
Gamhar is a southeast Asian tree that produces high-quality wood, which is used to make furniture and musical instruments, such as Indian sitars and drums.
Silky oak is one of the finest flowering trees from Australia, with fern-like leaves and rich yellow, comb-like flowers in late spring.
A tall forest tree from west Central Africa, black hyedua is valued for its timber, which is used in general carpentry in Ghana as a substitute for rosewood (Dalbergia spp.)
This flowering plant does not photosynthesise, but depends on fungi instead for survival.
A beautiful tree from African mountain forests, hagenia is much-used in local medicine.
Used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of the Kalahari as a medicinal plant, devil's claw is now also used in Western medicine.
A woody climber native to Europe, common ivy has long been collected for winter decorations and is an important food-source for wildlife.
Venezuelan marsh pitcher is a carnivorous plant from the mountains of Venezuela and Guyana. It has short cone-shaped pitchers with a small lid and nodding white flowers.
A striking new mistletoe, recently discovered in the ‘lost forest’ of Mt Mabu in northern Mozambique, is currently known from just five collections made in the same small area.
Helleborus thibetanus is a delicate hellebore, separated from its closest relatives in western Eurasia by more than 5,000 km.
The orange daylily bears a succession of striking orange-red flowers on long stems, but each flower lasts only one day, opening in the morning and closing in the evening.
A wood-recycling fungus of conservation concern, bearded tooth has distinctive white football-sized fruitbodies, covered in icicle-like projections.
Heterospathe barfodii is a critically endangered palm from Papua New Guinea with a striking white crownshaft and maroon young flowering stems.
Hevea brasiliensis, better known as the rubber tree, is the primary source of natural rubber.
Hierochloe odorata is an aromatic grass native to Europe, Asia and North America, which has been used for incense and basketry by Native Americans.
Used for generations by the indigenous peoples of the Kalahari to quench their thirst, Hoodia gordonii is now widely used in the commercial production of slimming aids.
Sea barley is a wild relative of the well-known cereal barley (Hordeum vulgare).
More: Grass family
Heart-leaved houttuynia is a creeping herb with fleshy stems and a scent that has been described as lemon, sandalwood, coriander or raw fish.
Bluebells, almost half the global population of which is found in the UK, can create a stunning carpet of woodland colour during the spring.
Tunbridge filmy fern is a diminutive plant with an almost worldwide distribution in temperate rainforests and mountain cloud forests.
More: Saving species
Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus is a virulent fungal pathogen of ash trees that causes ‘chalara ash dieback’ in northern and central Europe and has recently spread to the UK.
Well-known as a festive winter decoration, common holly is one of Britain's few native evergreen trees.
Farges’s holly, named after the French missionary Paul Farges, is a Chinese holly with glossy dark green leaves and fragrant white flowers, followed by red berries.
An evergreen tree from China and Vietnam, star anise is cultivated for its aromatic fruits that are used to produce a spice similar in flavour to aniseed.
Alang-alang is considered one of the ten worst weeds in the world, but has many uses as a traditional medicine.
A vine from the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), sweet potato is widely cultivated for its edible root tubers.
Iris afghanica has been described as the finest plant introduction from Afghanistan, and the most superb of the regelia irises.
Fringed iris is common in many parts of China and Japan and appears to have been cultivated in Europe since 1792.
English iris, which is in fact native to France and Spain, is a tall, sturdy, bulbous iris with deep blue flowers in mid-summer.
The striking Siberian iris was first brought into cultivation in the Middle Ages, and is still widely grown in temperate regions.