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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Doka is a vigorously colonising African tree which often dominates the woodland belt that stretches from Guinea in the west to Uganda in the east.
Part of an ancient group of plants related to the ferns, this species eluded discovery until 2007, hence its Latin name eludens.
A newly described rare species of forest floor herb, discovered growing in the glasshouses at Kew!
More: Kew discoveries
On one of Kew’s collecting trips to Pakistan, 100 plants of the rare Jasminum leptophyllum were discovered; no other populations are known to local expedition members.
Although Darwin described the Chilean wine palm as a ‘very ugly tree’, many consider it to be one of the world's most magnificent palms. Kew’s own impressive specimen is growing in our Temperate House.
A North American tree with dark-coloured timber and bark, black walnut produces timber and edible nuts (seeds) used in confectionery.
Justicia brandegeeana is commonly known as shrimp plant because of the colour and shrimp-like appearance of its inflorescence.
Kalanchoe schimperiana is a leafy succulent, less commonly cultivated than other species in this genus, appreciated for its attractive flowers in early spring.
This remarkable new species was discovered in the highly endangered Atlantic Forest of eastern Brazil.
Khaosok sedge was discovered in 2001 on limestone cliffs, accessible only by boat, in southern Thailand.
The sausage tree is sacred to many African communities and has a wide variety of uses in traditional and Western medicine, including commercially available skin lotions.
In the uplands of South Africa, the brightly-coloured flower spikes of the Lesotho red hot poker can be seen from a distance.
Lactarius chromospermus is an African milk-cap fungus species with chocolate brown gills that only forms a symbiotic relationship with species of Brachystegia in Miombo woodland.
Lactifluus gymnocarpoides is an edible species of milk cap fungus that form relationships with the roots of certain tropical legume trees and is widespread in tropical Africa.
Huon pine is a slow-growing Australian tree, some individuals of which are thought to be over 2,200 years old.
The white dead-nettle has nettle shaped leaves that do not sting, and grows in woodlands and grasslands.
The leaf markings of the spotted dead-nettle make it an attractive and popular choice for gardeners, and along with its large purple flowers easily distinguish it from the common stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).
A root parasite with explosive seed capsules, purple toothwort is becoming increasingly popular as a decorative garden plant.
A parasite growing on the roots of a range of woody plants, toothwort owes its common name to its flowering and fruiting stems, which have been said to resemble a row of teeth.
Fringed lavender is an attractive, highly aromatic, winter-flowering shrub for an unheated conservatory.
Lavandula minutolii is an attractive winter-flowering shrub for the conservatory with aromatic, feathery grey leaves and spikes of blue flowers.
A bizarre, cushion-forming herb, Lepidagathis fischeri is resurrected annually following fire and subsequent rains in the woodlands and grasslands of eastern Africa.
Redlead roundhead is an attractive fungus easily recognised by its orange, slimy cap and dark gills. It can be found growing in large clusters on woodchip mulch.
The aptly named ‘plantpot dapperling’ mushroom often provides a surprise when its brilliant yellow fruiting bodies spring suddenly but fleetingly from plant pots in the dead of winter.
The spring snowflake is a popularly cultivated bulbous plant with delicate white flowers, and belongs to the same family as the snowdrops.
Bitterroot was first described as new to science in 1813 from specimens collected during one of the first western expeditions across the United States to the Pacific coast, but the species was already well-known and used by local Native Americans.
This tree sea lavender, native to the Canary Islands, is one of the largest species in the genus Limonium.
Trumpet honeysuckle has striking, bright red, tubular flowers and is an attractive climber, which is evergreen in very mild areas.
Large-leaved lupin is one of the most spectacular perennial lupins native to western North America.
Floating water-plantain is an unusual aquatic plant, rare in the UK, with a differing leaf structure depending on the depth of water in which it grows, and showy white flowers.
Fruiting throughout the autumn, the common puffball can be recognised by the shape of the fruitbody, its fragile, conical spines and the network-like pattern which is left when these are eroded or rubbed away.
Magnistipula multinervia is so rare that only four trees are known, growing in a remote area deep inside Korup National Park in Cameroon.
An attractive ornamental, Mascarenhasia arborescens was an important source of natural rubber in Madagascar in the early 1900s.
A remarkable bulb from South Africa, hedgehog lily has a pair of leaves pressed flat onto the ground, and a head of small white or pinkish flowers, like a shaving brush, nestled between them.
An attractive member of the iris family, Mastigostyla chuquisacensis is known from only two localities in Bolivia.
More: Kew discoveries
Found only in Torotoro National Park in Bolivia, Mastigostyla torotoroensis is a bulbous perennial herb with eye-catching blue flowers.
More: Kew discoveries
Named in honour of the British botanist John R. I. Wood, Mastigostyla woodii is a member of the iris family with horizontally-facing blue-purple flowers.
The fruits of the argun palm were first discovered by archaeologists in the tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The main source of commercially-produced tea tree oil, Melaleuca alternifolia is an efficacious natural antiseptic once heralded as ‘a medicine chest in a bottle’.
Having virtually disappeared from its natural habitat for the second time, St Helena boxwood is kept safe in cultivation in Kew’s glasshouses.
Melocactus conoideus is a critically endangered cactus from eastern Brazil.
A vigorous, aromatic perennial native to southern and western Europe, apple mint is grown as a culinary herb and ornamental.
Michelsonia microphylla is a rare, although once locally abundant, tropical African forest tree from the Congo basin.
Micrargeriella aphylla is a rare and poorly known herb that was discovered for the first time in Angola by a Kew-led botanical team in 2011.
Few can resist touching the compound leaves of the sensitive plant and watching them fold up in response.
Calabash nutmeg is a large tropical tree with huge leaves and exotic, scented flowers that hang down on cord-like twigs.
The common morel and related species, popularly known as morels, produce their distinctive fruitbodies in spring and are sought-after edible fungi.
The Yunnan banana, native to China’s Yunnan province, is the 24,200th plant species saved at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank.
The pepperpot earthstar was first described from Britain as a new species in 1776. It was considered extinct in the UK until recently rediscovered in Suffolk.
The white hoop petticoat daffodil is named after the characteristic shape of its flower.