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 wood of Acacia nilotica was used by ancient Egyptians to make statues and furniture.
Baobab, Africa’s iconic ‘upside-down’ tree, is pollinated by bats and bushbabies.
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.
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.
The monkey puzzle was given its name by an observer who thought that monkeys wouldn’t be able to climb the spiky branches.
Asarum asaroides was introduced to Europe by the German, Philipp von Siebold, on his return from Japan in 1830.
Frankincense, an oily gum resin from the tree Boswellia sacra and related species, is named in the Bible as one the three gifts given to the baby Jesus by the 'Three Wise Men'. It has been used for thousands of years in many different cultures.
A star of many Western films, the iconic saguaro cactus is a spectacular feature of the Sonoran Desert in south western North America.
Sweet chestnut is a medium-sized tree that is widely cultivated for its edible nuts contained in prickly husks.
A tropical tree from West African rainforests, kola nut seeds are popularly chewed as a caffeine-containing stimulant and are an ingredient in some soft drinks.
Believed to be the source of the scented myrrh mentioned in the Bible, Commiphora guidottii is a tree native to Somalia and Ethiopia.
A vine native to Mexico and the USA, Cucurbita pepo has been domesticated for thousands of years and is the source of an astonishing variety of cultivated forms, including Halloween pumpkins, courgettes (zucchini) and squashes.
In late summer and autumn, the tall flowering spikes of the maritime squill are a conspicuous feature of dry, barren hillsides in coastal areas around the Mediterranean.
The golden lotus banana is a small but stunning member of the banana family.
A small tree or shrub from Mexico and Guatemala, poinsettia is cultivated for its striking red bracts, and potted forms are the basis of a lucrative Christmas industry.
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.
One of Europe’s largest native deciduous trees, European ash provides tough, elastic timber that is widely used for furniture and also used to make tennis racquets and cricket stumps.
The common snowdrop is one of the most popular of all cultivated bulbous plants, and its flowering is traditionally seen to herald the end of winter.
Cleavers is a botanical hitchhiker with a medicinal past, present and future.
Native to west tropical Africa, Gardenia nitida is a small tree or undershrub with woody fruits and strongly-scented flowers.
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.
Well-known as a festive winter decoration, common holly is one of Britain's few native evergreen trees.
Doka is a vigorously colonising African tree which often dominates the woodland belt that stretches from Guinea in the west to Uganda in the east.
In the uplands of South Africa, the brightly-coloured flower spikes of the Lesotho red hot poker can be seen from a distance.
Calabash nutmeg is a large tropical tree with huge leaves and exotic, scented flowers that hang down on cord-like twigs.
The daffodil is the 'golden' flower that inspired the poetry of William Wordsworth.
Revered as a divine symbol for more than 5,000 years, the sacred lotus is a truly iconic plant.
Holy basil is an important medicinal and religious plant closely related to the basil we use for cooking.
One of the world’s most important staple crops and a major part in the diet of more than half the world’s population, rice also has many medicinal uses.
A distinctive symbol of remembrance, the common poppy has seeds that can lie dormant for over 80 years.
The cockleshell orchid is the National Flower of Belize, where it is known to residents as the black orchid.
One of China and Japan's most popular plants, mume blossoms have long been a favourite subject in traditional East Asian art and poetry.
The 'wonder-herb' rosemary has been used variously as a medicine, food preservative, stimulant, memory enhancer, and of course as a flavoursome cooking ingredient.
The elder, although a much-appreciated source of food and medicine, was once reviled as the tree from which Judas Iscariot supposedly hanged himself. However, since elder is not native to the Palestine region, this story is probably apocryphal.
Sturt's desert pea has striking, blood-red flowers with bulbous black centres, and is the South Australian floral emblem.
A densely branching evergreen that can live for centuries, the common yew is often found in British churchyards.
The cocoa tree is the source of one of the world’s most delicious and familiar products… chocolate.
One of the most well-known evergreens, the mistletoe has inspired fascination throughout history, and is held in esteem for its medicinal and perceived magical properties.
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.