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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Schumann abelia is an elegant shrub with arching stems, which bear clusters of attractive, lilac-pink flowers throughout the summer.
Cootamundra wattle is a graceful tree with beautiful fern-like foliage and bright golden-yellow flower heads, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental.
Syrian acanthus is one of the most difficult species for seed collecting because its spines are so hard and sharp.
The paperbark maple is an ornamental tree with peeling, copper-brown bark; its leaves start orange in spring, then turn successively pinkish-brown, yellow and deep green through summer and finally end up deep red in autumn.
Although native to China, it was commercialisation of this climber in New Zealand (and clever marketing under the name kiwi fruit) that made it the popular and widespread fruit it is today.
A climber with unusual, variegated leaves, splashed with pink and white, kolomikta vine has small flowers with a fragrance similar to that of lily-of-the-valley.
A relative of the common horse chestnut, the Indian horse chestnut from the Himalaya is a spectacular early summer flowering tree, which produces smaller seeds than the common horse chestnut, making it less useful for the 'conker' player.
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.
An attractive wetland plant, common water-plantain has delicate white, pale pink or lilac flowers that open in late afternoon and close again at dusk.
The golden trumpet vine has clusters of particularly striking golden-yellow flowers, which contrast with the shiny dark green leaves to make a lush plant for the conservatory.
Sicilian honey garlic has attractive bell-shaped flowers, but don’t be fooled by its beauty - like most members of its genus and subfamily it has an unpleasant smell when bruised.
A threatened species in the UK, the round-headed leek belongs to the same genus as the familiar culinary plants onions, leeks, garlic and chives.
Elephant ear taro is a massive aroid with a spectacular cluster of upwardly pointing, arrow-shaped leaf blades which can reach one metre in length.
Aloe ciliaris is a South African aloe with barely succulent leaves and one of the most vigorous of the climbing aloes.
The strange-looking quiver tree is an icon of southern Africa’s most arid habitats.
Tall mountain aloes growing on hillsides are a common sight in southern Africa.
Fan aloe is an unusual, many-branched succulent with striking scarlet flowers and fan-like clusters of leaves.
The titan arum is a giant among plants, with a massive flowering structure that rises some three metres above the ground. Its flowering is rare and unpredictable, and always grabs the headlines!
Pineapple is a tropical plant widely cultivated for its distinctive fruits with their sweet yellow flesh and juice.
Haller’s anemone is insulated with dense hairs, allowing it to grow even in freezing temperatures.
Well-known as a decoration for cakes and puddings, angelica is a tall, aromatic herb that has been cultivated since ancient times.
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.
Evergreen kangaroo paw has a clump of narrow, iris-like leaves and branching stems. The masses of tubular, curved, densely-hairy flowers are usually yellow, but can be orange, red, pink or green.
These popular houseplants are known as flamingo flowers owing to the resemblance of the flowering parts to the body and twisted neck of a flamingo.
The monkey puzzle was given its name by an observer who thought that monkeys wouldn’t be able to climb the spiky branches.
Arisaema consanguineum is a striking plant with rather sinister-looking flowers and bold foliage.
The subtly attractive Jacquemont’s cobra lily is native to the Himalaya, southern India, and the Khasi Hills region in north-east India, and can be cultivated in shady areas of temperate gardens.
Pelican flower produces enormous trumpet-shaped flowers, which smell of rotting meat and attract flies and wasps as its pollinators.
A sweetly aromatic herb with small, yellow flower heads, sweet wormwood contains the chemical artemisinin and its aerial parts are used in making anti-malarial drugs.
Arum pictum is a low-growing, autumn-flowering arum with beautiful, shiny leaves and a purple spathe.
Asarum asaroides was introduced to Europe by the German, Philipp von Siebold, on his return from Japan in 1830.
Purple berkheya is the only mauve to purple flowered species in the genus, most of the others being yellow or in some cases white.
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.
A shrub or tree, with mulberry-like leaves, paper mulberry is important as a source of fibre for cloth and paper.
Bulbophyllum macranthum is an epiphytic orchid from southeast Asia, with long, creeping rhizomes and large, sweetly-scented, fly-pollinated flowers.
An African tree producing a spectacular display of pink flowers, Cape chestnut is a popular ornamental.
Great camas is a bulbous plant native to North America, with broader leaves than other species of this genus, that bears many star-shaped blue or whitish flowers.
Christmas camellia is an attractive shrub with beautiful white to red flowers and contrasting dark green evergreen leaves.
The birch-leaved bellflower is a large-flowered species found in north-east Turkey.
Yellow bellflower is unusual amongst the campanulas in having yellow flowers, and is considered rare in many alpine countries.
Canary bell-flower is a winter-flowering scrambler from the Canary Islands, with bright orange bells and copious watery nectar.
This species includes a wide variety of peppers, including chilli peppers used in curries and sweet bell peppers used in salads.
A star of many Western films, the iconic saguaro cactus is a spectacular feature of the Sonoran Desert in south western North America.
The leaves and fruiting catkins of Fang’s hornbeam are larger than those of any other hornbeam.
Across India and other Asian countries, the sap of solitary fishtail palm is fermented to produce an alcoholic drink called palm wine or toddy.
The cotton daisy is one of the more widespread species in the mountainous areas of New Zealand.
A low-growing perennial with beautiful, large, blue flowerheads, perennial cornflower is native to central and southern Europe.
Wintersweet is grown chiefly for the wonderful scent produced by its small flowers in late winter and early spring.
The dried roots of Chlorophytum tuberosum are used as a popular tonic and aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine.