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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Okra is valued for its edible green fruits, said to be shaped like ‘lady’s fingers’, one of its common names in British English.
Baobab, Africa’s iconic ‘upside-down’ tree, is pollinated by bats and bushbabies.
Pineapple is a tropical plant widely cultivated for its distinctive fruits with their sweet yellow flesh and juice.
Breadfruit is a tall tropical tree with divided leaves and large green to yellow fruits with an edible, starchy, white or cream-coloured flesh.
Beetroot, Swiss chard, sugar beet and mangel-wurzel are all cultivars of the same species, Beta vulgaris.
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.
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 striking South American tree, the empty fruits of which may turn up in your potpourri.
Oriental paper bush is a beautiful, winter-flowering scented shrub, which has bark valued for making high-quality paper in Japan.
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.
Treasure flowers, originally from South Africa, have been in cultivation since the 19th century, but are now also invasive plants in some parts of the world.
A woody climber native to Europe, common ivy has long been collected for winter decorations and is an important food-source for wildlife.
Hierochloe odorata is an aromatic grass native to Europe, Asia and North America, which has been used for incense and basketry by Native Americans.
Alang-alang is considered one of the ten worst weeds in the world, but has many uses as a traditional medicine.
Although Darwin described the Chilean wine palm as a ‘very ugly tree’, many consider it to be one of the world's most magnificent palms. Kew’s own impressive specimen is growing in our Temperate House.
The fruits of the argun palm were first discovered by archaeologists in the tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs.
The stinging-nettle tree looks a bit like a papaya tree – but it does what its name suggests!
A distinctive symbol of remembrance, the common poppy has seeds that can lie dormant for over 80 years.
Unrivalled king of the forest in Britain, English oak (pedunculate oak) is synonymous with strength, size and longevity.
The thick bark of the cork oak has been harvested for thousands of years, and was used to make Roman sandals.
The pagoda tree was introduced to Britain in 1753; Kew’s own specimen is believed to date back to 1760.
Mitnan is a yellow-flowered desert shrub, the leaves of which are used in traditional medicine and the branches and bark are woven to make strong rope.
Bread wheat is more widely cultivated than any other crop, and world trade is of greater monetary value than all other cereals combined.