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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Few trees are under greater threat from increases in sea level due to climate change than poke-me-boy, found almost exclusively on one of the British Virgin Islands (Anegada), which stands only 8 m above the Caribbean Sea.
The fast-growing sweet thorn, with its striking yellow pompom-like flowerheads, is perhaps the most well-used acacia in southern Africa.
Fast-growing brown salwood trees are planted on a vast scale for the production of paper and solid wood products.
The wood of Acacia nilotica was used by ancient Egyptians to make statues and furniture.
Gum arabic has been used for at least 4,000 years in the preparation of food, in human and veterinary medicine, in crafts and as a cosmetic.
Adonidia maturbongsii is a solitary palm recently discovered on Biak Island in Indonesia and considered to be Endangered.
Flat-crown albizia is an African tree with a wealth of uses, from the simple provision of shade to the preparation of a love charm.
The monkey puzzle was given its name by an observer who thought that monkeys wouldn’t be able to climb the spiky branches.
Breadfruit is a tall tropical tree with divided leaves and large green to yellow fruits with an edible, starchy, white or cream-coloured flesh.
Paper birch is a North American tree with waterproof bark used in earlier times to make canoes and tepee covers; its wood is now used commercially for toothpicks and ice lolly sticks.
The silver birch is a temperate tree, grown as an ornamental plant, also for its timber. It is used for a range of purposes, from broom-making and steeple-chase fencing to medicines.
An African tree producing a spectacular display of pink flowers, Cape chestnut is a popular ornamental.
A star of many Western films, the iconic saguaro cactus is a spectacular feature of the Sonoran Desert in south western North America.
Across India and other Asian countries, the sap of solitary fishtail palm is fermented to produce an alcoholic drink called palm wine or toddy.
Sweet chestnut is a medium-sized tree that is widely cultivated for its edible nuts contained in prickly husks.
Coffee is one of the world’s favourite drinks, one of the most important commercial crop-plants, and the second most valuable international commodity; Arabica coffee is considered to produce the finest coffee beans.
Daniellia alsteeniana is one of the most charismatic and conspicuous trees in the woodlands and dry forests of northeastern Angola, where Kew is documenting species diversity to help build a case for conservation of this unique region.
Tufted hair-grass is a large, tussock-forming grass, once used to form the roof of one of the oldest thatched cottages in England.
A highly variable, extremely widespread plant with numerous medicinal uses, hopbush is known by over fifty different common names.
Only recently placed in a genus of its own, the Latin name of this palm honours a Kew botanist and palm expert.
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.
Copper beech trees can be propagated by grafting to maintain the colour of the leaves.
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.
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.
Gilbertiodendron dewevrei is a large, evergreen tree that dominates forests in parts of central Africa.
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.)
A beautiful tree from African mountain forests, hagenia is much-used in local medicine.
Hevea brasiliensis, better known as the rubber tree, is the primary source of natural rubber.
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.
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.
Huon pine is a slow-growing Australian tree, some individuals of which are thought to be over 2,200 years old.
An attractive ornamental, Mascarenhasia arborescens was an important source of natural rubber in Madagascar in the early 1900s.
Michelsonia microphylla is a rare, although once locally abundant, tropical African forest tree from the Congo basin.
Calabash nutmeg is a large tropical tree with huge leaves and exotic, scented flowers that hang down on cord-like twigs.
A tree from the forests of West and Central Africa, Parkia bicolor has large, reddish, pendent flower heads that are pollinated by fruit bats at night.
Caribbean pine is an important timber tree, one variety of which is under threat from an introduced scale insect.
Native to southeast Europe and southwest Asia, oriental plane is a long-lived tree with widely spreading branches and spiky round fruits.
Small-leaved bloodwood is an African shrub or tree with many uses, and is considered threatened in northern Burkina Faso.
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.
Red mangrove trees produce thickets of submerged stilt roots which form an important habitat for a variety of marine life, especially young fish.
A rapidly growing tree native to southeastern North America, black locust is loved by many as an elegant ornamental of parks and city streets.
Marula is an African tree, the juicy fruits of which are highly prized by humans and other animals.
The pagoda tree was introduced to Britain in 1753; Kew’s own specimen is believed to date back to 1760.
An aromatic shrub from Africa and Saudi Arabia, camphor bush is used in traditional medicine and also valued for its wood.