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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The horse mushroom is a good, sought-after edible fungus, related to the common cultivated mushroom (A. bisporus) and with a pleasant aniseed-like odour.
One of the most iconic and distinctive of British fungi, fly agaric, with its red cap and white spots, is renowned for its toxicity and hallucinogenic properties.
St George's mushroom is one of the few good edible fungi to be found in spring, usually appearing in late April close to St George’s Day (23rd April), hence the popular name.
Calvatia gigantea produces perhaps the largest fruitbody of any fungus, and is aptly referred to as the giant puffball. The unmistakeable fruitbodies, which appear in late summer and autumn, are often the size of footballs and sometimes much larger.
Camillea leprieurii is a fungus dependent on rainforest trees for survival but can only be easily detected when observed growing out of dead branches.
Clathrus archeri, also known as devil's fingers, has a gelatinous egg stage from which the fruitbody arises, its four to eight reddish arms each coated with dark, foul-smelling tissue.
Found on wooden structures, Cyphelium notarisii can be distinguished from similar lichens by the sooty residue left on fingers after rubbing the fruitbodies.
Darwin's fungus is a parasitic, golf ball-like fungus that was named in honour of Charles Darwin, who collected it in Tierra del Fuego during his voyage on HMS Beagle in 1832.
A wood-recycling fungus of conservation concern, bearded tooth has distinctive white football-sized fruitbodies, covered in icicle-like projections.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The common morel and related species, popularly known as morels, produce their distinctive fruitbodies in spring and are sought-after edible fungi.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.