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).
Is speciation possibly in sympatry? Using Lord Howe Island as a natural laboratory, this project has yielded important new insights into this controversial evolutionary question.
This project focuses on Australian orchids, which form a diverse, taxonomically complex, threatened group, exhibiting a wide range of specialisations in habitat and pollinators.
Research to discover and describe the compounds produced by legumes is being undertaken in a systematic framework to provide characters to test new phylogenies and to support the sustainable use of legumes.
Studies of phylogenetic systematics and genetics of Asparagales (the asparagoid lilies) are an ongoing focus of monocot work at Kew.
Systematic studies of Liliales are an ongoing focus of monocot studies at Kew.
Kew has played a key role in the discovery of novel information on the relationships of the yams and their allies and discovering new taxa. The information has been used to underpin conservation in a vitally important edible and medicinal plant group.
The botanical systematics course forms part of the first year training for students in the School of Horticulture at Kew. It covers plant classification, nomenclature, identification and morphology, with special emphasis on teaching botanical horticulturists.
Research on the chemistry of Malpighiales is focussed on the distribution of polyhydroxyalkaloids in Euphorbiaceae and the sustainable use of Passiflora (Passifloraceae).
This project aims to investigate the relationships between the genera, species and other taxa of the Caprifoliaceae s.l., tribe Linnaeeae Dumortier. It is part of a PhD, jointly co-ordinated by the Open University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
The Caprifoliaceae includes many genera of horticultural and economic importance, such as honey-suckles, snow berries and abelias. Some taxa are used medicinally, and Lonicera caerulea is cultivated for its edible fruits. This family also represents an important example in the evolution of the thyrsoid inflorescence.
An infrageneric classification of the horticulturally important genus Dendrobium
The Kew team is inferring the phylogeny and biogeography of the Pandanaceae family based on plastid DNA sequences.
This project aims to progress taxonomic knowledge of the eucalypts, to provide conservation assessments of newly described species and to investigate the effects of fragmentation on population and pollination processes.
Character evolution in the monocot order Pandanales (five families), encompassing several anomalous morphological structures.
Kew has been leading on a multidisciplinary study of the exclusively tropical African forest genus Hymenostegia to clarify its classification and to assess the conservation status of all species, many of which are rare.
The economically important indigo dye genus Indigofera is the third largest genus in the family Leguminosae, and occurs throughout the tropics of the world with more than 750 species.
The relationships between the genera of Lamiaceae subfamily Viticoideae and genera historically allied to them are being resolved through a combination of approaches (molecular phylogenetics; alpha taxonomy; chemosystematics).
A systematic and biogeographical study of the fifty five species of the genus Phyllanthus (Phyllanthaceae) which occur in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands.
Multidisciplinary research has lead to a greater understanding of the relationships and uses of basils and their allies
(project completed 2011)
Kew has been investigating the systematics, evolution and conservation of the tropical African tree genus Berlinia.
Work towards a widely accessible working list of known plant species.
Long-term studies of major Neotropical plant families important in Amazonia, contributing to the development of key regional floras and to understanding their phylogeny and relationships to other geographic areas
Recent and wide-reaching changes to the taxonomy of Salicaceae, Achariaceae and Flacourtiaceae, based largely on molecular analyses, have proved controversial. This project aims to resolve conflict between different perspectives, stabilize nomenclature within the group and provide World Checklists for the three families involved.
Investigating the relationship between vitamin E composition in seed, leaf and root tissue and phylogeny by comparison of species representing diverse families across the Plant Kingdom.
Completion of the Myrtaceae account for the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak – and associated taxonomy
Documenting and understanding the distribution and conservation status of Cyperaceae in Thailand.
Identification of natural dye plant resources in Indonesia and the development of their sustainable use
A monograph of the attractive orchid genus Calanthe
Application of biophysical fingerprints and evaluation of seed chemical composition to predict and overcome underperformance of seeds during low temperature storage and recovery.
This book is the fifth in a series of plant conservation checklists of Cameroon. It describes 356 species and varieties of plants discovered in the forests of Dom, in the Bamenda Highlands, North West Region, Cameroon. The checklist provides a valuable tool for the identification of the plant species within the area, in particular those threatened with extinction - the highest priorities for conservation.
This book is the sixth in a series of plant conservation checklists for Cameroon. It describes 412 species and varieties discovered in the forests of the Lebialem Highlands of South West Region, Cameroon. The checklist provides a valuable tool for the identification and management of the plant species within the area, in particular the 42 found to be threatened with extinction - the highest priority for conservation.
Supporting conservation and sustainable management of forests in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries
The horticulturally important tropical American slipper orchids, Phragmipedium, have gained greater significance due to some surprising recent discoveries
This handbook to the commonly encountered and ecologically important plant families of the tropics will be based on lectures and workshops delivered by Kew's experts as part of the Tropical Plant Identification course run annually at Kew.
Increasing the quality, quantity and diversity of native plants and seeds available for conservation and habitat restoration in the UK.
Supporting partners in the UK Overseas Territories in collecting seeds of priority plant species for ex situ conservation at the Millennium Seed Bank.
Developing species action plans for Ascension’s endemic plants
Conserving the endemic and threatened plants of the Falkland Islands
Alien invasive species are recognised as one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss and their impacts are particularly significant on islands. For effective conservation management, UKOTs require a good understanding of the nature and distribution of non-native species and a risk assessment of their potential invasiveness. This ongoing project provides valuable baseline data on non-native species in UKOTs and is making them available via the UKOTs online herbarium.
Producing a plant conservation checklist and vegetation map of Montserrat's Centre Hills
Surveying introduced plants on South Georgia, to provide baseline information on their presence, distribution and invasive potential, enabling the Government of South Georgia to make informed decisions for conservation management.
To halt biodiversity loss in the species-rich High Peak and Blue Point areas on St Helena through increasing local capacity to deliver practical habitat restoration and management
Building capacity in horticulture and species recovery on St Helena to enable developments that promote best practice and provide the best survival options for St Helena’s unique and fragile endemic plant species and their remaining habitats.
Developing a strategy for the long-term protection of the Falkland Islands' native flora through the sustainable management of key plant communities
Establishing a new botanic garden for Montserrat as a resource for islanders, an attraction for overseas tourists and a centre for conservation activity