Kew's Science Projects

Kew scientists are involved in hundreds of scientific projects of varying scales ranging from individual PhD research programmes to large-scale network endeavours involving more than 40 institutional partners, across several continents. These project profiles document all our significant science projects (whether externally or internally funded).

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A Dictionary of Fruit and Seed Morphological Terms

Developing a revised and improved system of morphological fruit classification that leads to the development of interactive identification tools and the publication of a Dictionary of Fruit and Seed Morphological Terms


A Handbook of the World’s Conifers - COMPLETED 2010

 A comprehensive guide to the families, genera and species of conifers in the world.


A Natural History of Conifers - COMPLETED 2008

A popular science book aimed at an educated general audience dealing with all aspects of conifer natural history.


African Dryland Alliance for Pesticidal-Plant Technologies (ADAPPT)

A network for optimising and promoting the use of indigenous botanical knowledge for food security and poverty alleviation in Africa.


Adapting Agriculture to Climate Change

Adapting agriculture to climate change is one of the most urgent challenges of our time. To meet this challenge we are turning to the wild cousins of the crops we eat for their useful traits which have the power to safeguard our future food security.


African & Indian Ocean Syzygium

Monography, phylogeny and conservation of African Syzygium (Myrtaceae)


African Inga

Addressing slash and burn agriculture in West Central African Forests by finding an African equivalent to Inga


African Lamiaceae

The African species of Lamiaceae have been studied for three major Flora projects: Flora of East Tropical Africa, Flora of Ethiopia and Flora Zambesiaca


African Wild Harvest

A community-based project in Kenya documenting the use of traditional food plants and promoting their sustainable use and management for diet diversification and improved nutrition.


Africulture Centre 
(project completed 2010)

Promoting sustainable management of botanical resources for food, medicine and crafting.


Madagascar Aloe Conservation Project

Project purpose: to assess the conservation status of Madagascar’s species of Aloe, develop and implement a conservation strategy incorporating in-situ and ex-situ measures, and publish an identification guide for workers in the field.


An Atlas of the World’s Conifers

A new atlas of the world’s conifers is being prepared for publication later this year containing an analysis of their distribution, biogeography, diversity and conservation status


Anatomical Identification of Plant Material

An on-demand identification service for wood samples and other fragmentary plant material that requires microscopic examination. This work is supported by our extensive and expanding reference microscope slide collection and staff expertise.


Anatomy of the Dicotyledons

The ongoing monographic volume series Anatomy of the Dicotyledons is a reference work that is edited at Kew, and written by contributors from around the world.


Anatomy of the Monocotyledons

A monographic reference work providing data on vegetative anatomy in a comprehensive range of monocotyledons


Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III

African Plants Initiative

The African Plants Initiative (API) is an international project focused on digitization of previously unpublished botanical material of relevance to Africa. This material is made widely accessible for scholarly research purposes through the JSTOR Plant Science online resource.


Photoautotrophic Micropropagation Systems (PMS)

Using unconventional supporting systems to increase survival rates of micropropagated plantlets of threatened species


CATE Araceae Web Revision

An E-Taxonomy of the family Araceae: full taxonomic revisionary content for all genera and species of a major family of Angiosperms.


Assessing Plant Conservation Priorities in Angola

Kew is providing botanical expertise towards biodiversity assessments of habitats proposed for conservation under the Angolan Protected Areas Expansion Strategy.


Atlas of the Acanthaceae of East Africa

Kew is providing expertise and collections-data towards an atlas of this diverse and important family in East Africa. This project will provide a good example of the ways in which accumulated herbarium data on plants can be used and disseminated to increase our knowledge of regional diversity and conservation priorities.


Australian Virtual Herbarium
(project completed 2006)

Databasing and imaging of Kew's Australian type and selected historical specimens


Authentication and Chemical Fingerprinting of Economically Important Species

Kew has been using a range of analytical methods based on chemical and DNA fingerprinting to identify the species of plants being traded, their quality as well as identifying new uses.


The Plants of Bali Ngemba Forest Reserve, Cameroon: A Conservation Checklist

Baseline Data for the Conservation of Coffee Species

A project providing baseline data for the conservation and sustainability of coffee species, including the crop species, C. arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (robusta). Outputs include conservation assessments, ecological niche modeling and climate change analyses.


Can Bees Meet Their Nutritional Needs in the Current UK Landscape?

This project aims to understand how nutritional ecology and toxic plant compounds have influenced the decline in pollinator species in Britain.


The Biological Collection Access Service for Europe (BioCASE)
(project completed 2004)

A transnational network of biological collections of all kinds.


Biodiversity and Evolutionary Patterns in Mediterranean-type Ecosystems

Examine the evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes in the five Mediterranean regions of the world, with a particular focus on the integration of phylogenetic tools in biodiversity science.


Biodiversity inventory and monitoring to conserve critically threatened lowland forest in Sumatra

Biodiversity inventory and monitoring to conserve critically threatened lowland forest in Sumatra


Biogeography and Conservation of Myrtaceae

Biogeography and conservation based on digital Myrtaceae specimen records


Biogeography of the Leguminosae
(project completed 2010)

A new semi-arid to arid Tethyan Seaway origin is proposed for the family Leguminosae replacing the traditional wet tropical origin hypothesis.


The Historical Role of Africa in the Biogeography of the Detarieae (Leguminosae)

Kew is investigating the processes that lead to the current distribution of the tropical forest and woodland legumes of the tribe Detarieae.


Diversity of Biologically Active Plants and Plant-Derived Compound

Combining historic knowledge with new data about the potential uses of species


UK Bloomers Valley: A Species-Based Approach to Mesotrophic Grassland Restoration

Research to support UK grassland restoration: comparing different methods of reintroducing wild flower species, using seed as the starter medium.


British Club and Coral Fungi: a Textbook on the British and Irish Clavarioid and Ramarioid Fungi (Basidiomycota)

A comprehensive treatment of British club and coral mushrooms, including keys, descriptions, and treatments of all known species.


Cacti of Brazil

Applying Kew's botanical expertise to cactus conservation and science in Brazil through research, capacity building and data provision


Biodiversity Advice to Government

Providing ongoing advice to government to assist in implementing biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs- excluding CITES) and related protocols.


CBD Capacity Building

A suite of initiatives which help build, within Kew, and in Kew’s national and international partners the capacity to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity and related protocols and agreements.


Cell Inclusions

Evaluating the biomineral contents of plant cells for their diagnostic, systematic and environmental potential


Central Asia - diversity hotspot

The Mountains of Central Asia Flora was listed as a biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International in February 2005. The Flora was previously overlooked; 5500 species including 1500 endemic species in 64 genera over an area of 863,362 km2. Only 20% of the flora remains, of which 6.9% is currently protected.


CEPF Madagascar Vegetation Mapping - COMPLETED 2007

Madagascar Vegetation Mapping project, informing conservation and decision makers.


Checklist of British and Irish Basidiomycota: Web Version and Revised Edition

The first-ever comprehensive checklist and database of the British and Irish Basidiomycota covers more than 3,600 species.


Checklist of the Plants of the Arabian Peninsula

A project to create and maintain a searchable online database of plants of the Arabian Peninsula.


Annotated Checklist of the Plants of Sudan and South Sudan

Kew, in collaboration with the University of Khartoum, is in the process of compiling a checklist of the wild plant species of the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, together with a preliminary list of conservation priority species and habitats in the region.


Chemistry and Biological Activity of Myrtaceae

Investigating the biochemistry and chemosystematics of Myrtaceae


Chemosystematics and Biological Activity of Alismatid and Lilioid Monocots

Some of the alkaloids produced by monocots are being studied for systematic reasons or for their potential use.


Chemosystematics and biological activity of Lamiaceae

Investigating the Lamiaceae species that are used traditionally as medicines and to control insects


Chromosome Behaviour in the Genus Trithuria (Hydatellaceae)

Research to understand the characteristics of mitotic and meiotic behaviour of chromosomes from an extant early angiosperm family with respect to their potential importance for the general course of chromosome evolution.


CITES Capacity Building

A suite of initiatives which help build, within Kew, nationally and internationally the capacity to adequately implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.


CITES Checklists

Production of checklists for the major Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) listed plant groups.



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