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Banking and sharing the world's seeds

Graphic of a seed at high resolution

Plants and fungi are the most extraordinary chemical factories. Over the decades Kew’s scientists have gone beyond botany to help develop sustainable new plant-based pesticides, dyes, drugs and more – all for human benefit. 

Not all of our work is focused on entirely new discoveries. People have always relied on plants. So, as well as investigating new properties, we seek to understand and better exploit the known uses of plants. We often rediscover or validate traditional knowledge about medicines, diet or crops. But we always retain our rigorous commitment to science and sustainability. 

In our science-led research projects, we collaborate widely with companies, universities and non-profit organisations that share our interests. We have partnered with the University of Oxford on HIV treatments and with the Alzheimer’s Society on the calming effects of herbs. Evaluating the importance of plants to our lives supports the case for their conservation. This area of work at Kew is led by Professor Monique Simmonds. 

Through our campaign, you can invest in a particular area of research or in a specific project for using plants sustainably for people’s benefit – putting plants to use for health, food, or energy security. 

Call us on 020 8332 3248 to offer your support, or donate online.

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People of the breathing planet

'25 years since politics halted the project we are finally able to start work again in Iraq.'

Dr Shahina Ghazanfar, Herbarium Temperate Manager

'It's a real privelege to show people the Gardens and explain our important work to them.'

Valerie Munro, Volunteer Guide

Did you know?

One third of the Earth's habitats have been damaged by humans