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 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!
This rare rainforest giant was recently discovered in Cameroon.
Across India and other Asian countries, the sap of solitary fishtail palm is fermented to produce an alcoholic drink called palm wine or toddy.
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.
The Venus flytrap “eats” insects and sometimes even small frogs that become trapped in its modified, toothed leaves; if the prey struggles, the trap will close even tighter.
Dioscorea strydomiana is a recently discovered yam from South Africa. It is critically endangered and one of the most unusual yam species anywhere in the world.
The densely-spined strawberry cactus is known for its hedgehog-like appearance and strawberry-flavoured fruits.
Medusa’s head is so named because of its numerous snake-like stems.
This flowering plant does not photosynthesise, but depends on fungi instead for survival.
Justicia brandegeeana is commonly known as shrimp plant because of the colour and shrimp-like appearance of its inflorescence.
A parasite growing on the roots of a range of woody plants, toothwort owes its common name to its flowering and fruiting stems, which have been said to resemble a row of teeth.
A bizarre, cushion-forming herb, Lepidagathis fischeri is resurrected annually following fire and subsequent rains in the woodlands and grasslands of eastern Africa.
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.
Nepenthes bicalcarata, a distinctively ‘fanged’ pitcher plant from Borneo, has a mutually beneficial relationship with ants living inside its tendrils.
Famous as the rat-trapping pitcher plant, Nepenthes rajah has some of the largest pitchers in the genus Nepenthes.
The stinging-nettle tree looks a bit like a papaya tree – but it does what its name suggests!
American ginseng roots, which can resemble the human body, are dried for use as a popular herbal medicine.
As the name suggests, the heart-leaved pelargonium has velvety, heart-shaped leaves scented of apple.
Malbau is a common beach plant from southeast Asia and the Pacific. The crushed leaves smell of cat's urine.
A rare, parasitic, rootless and leafless plant, Rafflesia arnoldii has the largest known flower in the world.
The yellow rattle may look pretty and innocent – but it is a vampire at heart.
More: Out of the ordinary
Restricted to the island of Mauritius, Roussea simplex is a critically endangered shrub or liana that is pollinated by a gecko.
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!
A distinctive plant from upland areas of Africa and Asia, voodoo lily has flowers that emit a smell resembling rotting meat.
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.
A ragged-leaved inhabitant of African desert, some tree tumbos are believed to be over 1,000 years old.
A prominent species of the coastal plains and adjacent forests of south-west Western Australia, the tall, thin flowering spikes of Xanthorrhoea preissii emerge from a crown of grass-like leaves on a sturdy trunk, giving it an unusual profile.