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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When Charles Darwin was sent a specimen of the Madagascan Christmas star orchid in 1862, he predicted that since the nectar was at the bottom of the long flower spur, a pollinator must exist with a tongue as long as the spur - 41 years later, such a moth was discovered.
Clinging to an unstable cliff on a sharp mountain ridge, four tiny plants of the Ascension Island parsley fern, thought to be extinct for over 50 years, were discovered by conservation biologists in 2009.
Breadfruit is a tall tropical tree with divided leaves and large green to yellow fruits with an edible, starchy, white or cream-coloured flesh.
Coast banksia is an open tree or large shrub with smooth-edged leaves when mature, and heads of pale yellow flowers. In some forms, the leaf edges are wavy.
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.
Native to China, handkerchief tree was once considered to be the Holy Grail of exotic flora, and seeds were first sent to England by the legendary botanist Ernest Wilson in 1901.
The Eastern Cape giant cycad originates from South Africa, is long-lived and slow growing, and is popular as an ornamental plant.
Native to west tropical Africa, Gardenia nitida is a small tree or undershrub with woody fruits and strongly-scented flowers.
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.
Famous as the rat-trapping pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah has some of the largest pitchers in the genus Nepenthes.
St Helena olive disappeared from the wild in 1994 and became extinct in 2003 when the cultivated seedlings and cuttings succumbed to fungal infections.
Oxalis massoniana is a clump-forming perennial with hairy stems, narrow leaves and bright orange flowers; it is named after the Scottish botanist Francis Masson.
As the name suggests, the heart-leaved pelargonium has velvety, heart-shaped leaves scented of apple.
A bold, architectural plant, the bird-of-paradise flower has been grown at Kew since 1773.