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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Fringed campion is a tall perennial with white, frilled flowers.
Autumn catchfly is a popular plant for a rock garden, flowering at a time when most other alpines are long finished.
Solanum phoxocarpum is a spiny African tree with bright yellow pointed fruits that may have medicinal properties.
More: Kew discoveries
A rare, African spiny aubergine, Solanum ruvu has been collected only once and is now likely to be extinct in the wild.
More: Kew discoveries
Potato is widely cultivated for its edible tubers, which are used to produce a variety of products including chips, crisps and vodka.
Cauliflower fungus grows parasitically on the roots of conifers, and can be recognised by its distinctive, whitish to pale buff, much-lobed fruitbodies, which have been considered to resemble a cauliflower.
The downy woundwort is rare in the UK, and so benefits from full protection under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act.
More: Mint family
The spectacular and heavily scented tiger-spotted stanhopea has, as the name suggests, large flowers marked with distinctive purplish-brown streaks and stripes on a yellowish background.
A bold, architectural plant, the bird-of-paradise flower has been grown at Kew since 1773.
Strongylodon macrobotrys is commonly known as the jade vine, due to its striking blue-green flowers. The destruction of rainforests in the Philippines threatens this species in the wild.
The pagoda tree was introduced to Britain in 1753; Kew’s own specimen is believed to date back to 1760.
Balloon pea is a South African herbal remedy traditionally used for stomach problems, diabetes and lately as an important tonic to improve the overall health of cancer and HIV/AIDS patients.
Sturt's desert pea has striking, blood-red flowers with bulbous black centres, and is the South Australian floral emblem.
Large enough to be visible in satellite imagery, dimaka is an enormous ‘self-destructive’ palm that remained undetected by science until 2007.
Talbotiella velutina is a rare rainforest tree, which is only found in two localities.
From the sausage-shaped fruits of the tamarind tree comes the sticky acidic pulp that has been used as a food ingredient for thousands of years.
Commonly known as the dandelion, Taraxacum officinale has many culinary and medicinal uses, despite being generally regarded as a weed.
An aromatic shrub from Africa and Saudi Arabia, camphor bush is used in traditional medicine and also valued for its wood.
Bald cypress is an iconic tree that epitomizes the southeastern USA for residents and visitors alike.
A densely branching evergreen that can live for centuries, the common yew is often found in British churchyards.
Chilean blue crocus has brilliant blue flowers, and was thought for many years to be extinct in the wild.
Teak is well known for its high quality timber, and has also been used for traditional medicine in southeast Asia.
A Near Threatened shrub belonging to the pea and bean family, Tephrosia chimanimaniana is restricted to the Chimanimani Mountains in eastern Zimbabwe.
More: Legume family
Tetraberlinia bifoliolata is a tropical African tree with yellow flowers and explosive seed pods.
Chinese meadow rue is a tall perennial with highly divided leaves and numerous, small, pinkish-purple flowers.
The cocoa tree is the source of one of the world’s most delicious and familiar products… chocolate.
The clock vine can reach up to 10 metres in length with hanging stems of stunning yellow and reddish-brown flowers.
Mitnan is a yellow-flowered desert shrub, the leaves of which are used in traditional medicine and the branches and bark are woven to make strong rope.
A giant among European trees, large-leaved lime can grow up to 35 m tall.
Blushing bride is a common houseplant, admired for its contrasting violet flower spikes and red inner leaves.
Spanish moss is a superb 'air plant' which grows in silverish festoons up to 30 m long, hanging from tree limbs, cliffs and even telephone wires.
Trichodiadema densum is a low-growing succulent that is extremely reluctant to flower, but when it does, it has numerous bright pink daisy-like flowers in autumn.
Red clover is grown widely across the world as a forage crop for livestock and poultry and has also been used in folk medicine.
Snow trillium is one of the earliest alpine plants to bloom in spring and often flowers as the snow melts around it.
Bread wheat is more widely cultivated than any other crop, and world trade is of greater monetary value than all other cereals combined.
From the two surviving wild St Helena ebony plants, Kew’s horticulturists and conservationists have taken part in propagation programmes with colleagues in St Helena to produce thousands of new plants from cuttings and seeds.
More: Saving species
Three-coloured Indian cress is a delicate, colourful climber with thread-like stems and small, bright red, purple and yellow, long-spurred flowers.
Extinct in the wild, Tulipa sprengeri is a late-flowering, bright-red tulip with small flowers and shiny green leaves.
Bird’s-eye primrose smut, regarded as an extinct British fungus until its rediscovery in 2010, lives concealed inside its pink-flowered host, only attracting attention when it replaces the plant’s seeds with masses of blackish smut spores.
The Cape daisy is native to southern Africa and is cultivated for its bright orange to yellow flowerheads.
The nettle is one of the most useful plants in Britain and even its sting can be beneficial.
Maize smut is an economically important fungus which infects the stems, leaves and flowers of sweetcorn and may cause severe crop losses.
Blueberry is cultivated in North America and Europe for its edible fruits, which have been promoted as an antioxidant-containing ‘superfood’.
Vallea stipularis is a beautiful, evergreen, South American shrub with masses of pinkish-red or crimson, bell-shaped flowers.
The stunning blue vanda is responsible for the dramatic blues and purples seen in many cultivated vanda orchids.
Vanilla planifolia is the source of vanilla, one of the most popular flavours in the world, and weight for weight, one of the most valuable spice crops.
Shrubby mullein is found only among the ruins of the ancient city of Termessus in Antalya, southern Turkey.
Linden viburnum is a large shrub with neat, round leaves and flat heads of small white flowers followed by red, or sometimes yellow, fleshy berries.
Wood bitter-vetch is an erect herb related to the world-renowned broad bean (Vicia faba), a member of the pea and bean family (Leguminosae).
More: Legume family