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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Sea knotgrass is a coastal plant and is the rarest of the knotgrasses in Britain.
A perennial herb from Europe, temperate Asia and North America, woodland strawberry has small, delicate ‘fruits’ considered by many to be superior in flavour to commercial strawberries.
Malbau is a common beach plant from southeast Asia and the Pacific. The crushed leaves smell of cat's urine.
Primula beesiana is a popularly cultivated hardy perennial producing tiers of purple-red flowers in summer, and is especially dramatic when grown en masse.
Primula bulleyana is a candelabra primula from China with rich golden yellow-orange flowers.
The drumstick primula is the most common Himalayan primula in the wild and is very popular in cultivation.
An attractive perennial with elegant yellow flowers, Primula verticillata is native to north-east Africa and south-west Arabia, and is one of the parents of the Kew primrose (‘P. kewensis’).
Primula vialii is a striking perennial, with unusual spikes of pinkish flowers, tipped with red.
The cockleshell orchid is the National Flower of Belize, where it is known to residents as the black orchid.
A mountain shrub with striking flower heads, the snow protea can withstand impressive extremes of temperature.
Selfheal is a common herb in Britain and has a long history of medicinal use.
One of China and Japan's most popular plants, mume blossoms have long been a favourite subject in traditional East Asian art and poetry.
A shrub with pure white flowers and dark, thorny branches, blackthorn is perhaps best known for its fruits, which are used to produce sloe gin.
Small-leaved bloodwood is an African shrub or tree with many uses, and is considered threatened in northern Burkina Faso.
Unrecorded since 1946, moon carrot rust was regarded as a fungus extinct in Britain until it was rediscovered in 2009 in three populations of its host, a rare plant of the southern English chalk hills.
Flame vine is a rampant climber that carries cascades of bright orange tubular flowers. Although a dazzling spectacle when in full flower, in some parts of the world it has become naturalised and a weed.
An extremely rare sight in Britain, the chestnut-leaved oak is native to the mountains of the Caucasus and Iran.
Unrivalled king of the forest in Britain, English oak (pedunculate oak) is synonymous with strength, size and longevity.
Red oak is a North American tree with spectacular reddish brown leaves in autumn.
The thick bark of the cork oak has been harvested for thousands of years, and was used to make Roman sandals.
A rare, parasitic, rootless and leafless plant, Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest known flower in the world.
Café marron is endemic to the island of Rodrigues, Mascarene Islands, where it is presently known from just a single wild individual.
Grown worldwide for its fleshy, edible taproot, radish is thought to have originated in the eastern Mediterranean region.
The yellow rattle may look pretty and innocent – but it is a vampire at heart.
More: Out of the ordinary
Red mangrove trees produce thickets of submerged stilt roots which form an important habitat for a variety of marine life, especially young fish.
Mangles' everlasting is an attractive ornamental, native to south-western Australia and introduced to Europe by Captain James Mangles.
Rhodochiton atrosanguineum is a delicate and beautiful Mexican climber with heart-shaped leaves that coil around any support.
A rapidly growing tree native to southeastern North America, black locust is loved by many as an elegant ornamental of parks and city streets.
Rodgersia pinnata is a large, spreading perennial with bold divided leaves, tall branching lower stems, and masses of small pink flowers.
In 2006 Kew botanists discovered several populations of pribby using data from specimens rescued from Montserrat’s volcano-damaged herbarium.
Flowers of the China rose can vary greatly in colour and may open red, creamy white, or unusually a beautiful pale pink that later becomes red. This hardy rose is renowned for darkening over time, whereas other species lighten after opening.
Rosa graciliflora is a pink- or red-flowered wild rose that is native to China; the solitary flower has a characteristic long and slender pedicel (stalk).
Roscoea capitata is a rare Nepalese plant with pink to purple flowers in a tight head held well above the leaves.
Roscoea purpurea is a vigorously growing plant with flowers in a wide variety of colours, usually purple, but also pink, white and rarely bright red.
The 'wonder-herb' rosemary has been used variously as a medicine, food preservative, stimulant, memory enhancer, and of course as a flavoursome cooking ingredient.
Restricted to the island of Mauritius, Roussea simplex is a critically endangered shrub or liana that is pollinated by a gecko.
Common sorrel is today used in sauces and as a spinach or salad leaf; the sap can be used as a laundry stain-remover.
The fungus Russula meleagris is always found in a mutually beneficial association with a tropical legume tree species, Gilbertiodendron dewevrei, and has a smell that has been described as resembling that of a public toilet!
Sugar is extracted from the sweet, juicy stems of sugar cane, and is used worldwide as a sweetener, preservative and in the cosmetics industry.
Golden weeping willow is an artificial hybrid of two willow cultivars, from which it has inherited a weeping habit and golden branches. It is widely grown as an ornamental, especially near water.
Beach salvia is a spreading shrub with rounded, greyish leaves and unusual orange-brown flowers.
For nearly 40 years it was thought that the Cayman sage was extinct, but after the distribution of 'Wanted' posters in 2007 it was rediscovered.
The elder, although a much-appreciated source of food and medicine, was once reviled as the tree from which Judas Iscariot supposedly hanged himself. However, since elder is not native to the Palestine region, this story is probably apocryphal.
Sarracenia purpurea is a fairly common, but nevertheless spectacular, carnivorous pitcher plant that grows in wetlands in eastern North America.
A distinctive plant from upland areas of Africa and Asia, voodoo lily has flowers that emit a smell resembling rotting meat.
Most saxifrage species are associated with spring and early summer, but the flowers of Burser’s saxifrage can be produced amid the snow, and during the bleak and dull weather of mid-winter.
A hardy spring bulb with attractive blue-violet flowers, spring squill is native to western Europe.
Marula is an African tree, the juicy fruits of which are highly prized by humans and other animals.
Skullcap is a common waterside plant found throughout the United Kingdom and the Northern Hemisphere.