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Kew Science blog

Explore some of the research and activities of our global science and conservation programmes. Keep up to date with current developments in Kew science and science policy.
image showing Mycorrhizas of false truffles (Elaphomyces spp.)
6th June 2018

Peeking into the black box: Discovering fungal diversity below ground

In a ground-breaking study, scientists have been able to uncover the diverse world of soil-dwelling ectomycorrhizal fungi across Europe. Discovering the influences of soil, climate, pollution and tree host has revealed some surprising results.
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Image showing Collecting alder seed in Northern Ireland
30th May 2018

The UK National Tree Seed Project: 10 million seeds later

Kew scientist Clare Trivedi describes the journey of the UK National Tree Seed Project from creation to fruition of Phase 1: collecting 10 million seeds from 60 native species.
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Image showing Wild rice collected in Nepal
21st May 2018

Kew and the Convention on Biological Diversity

The 2018 International Day for Biological Diversity celebrates 25 years of Action for Biodiversity since the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into force in 1993. What part has Kew played?
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Image showing Páramo La Rusia
9th May 2018

Colombia’s high-elevation biodiversity at risk

Researchers from Kew gather plant specimens and data in the Colombian páramos to model the impact of climate change
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Image showing Santa Rosa dome inselberg is a granitic rock formation with a plant mat dominated by Bromeliads.
30th April 2018

The Chiquitania: Tropical Important Plant Areas in Bolivia

Rosie Clegg explains why the Chiquitania, a biodiverse region of Bolivia has captured the attention of Kew scientists, with its fascinating ecology, geology and culture.
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Image showing Mwanihana Forest Reserve, Tanzania Mist and giant trees in the forests of Udzungwa National Park, Tanzania (T.Lovett)
20th April 2018

New classification of tropical forests

Kew Research Associate Jon Lovett describes the recent findings of an important study which has led scientists to ponder the evolutionary history of tropical forests.
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image showing the Ribaue Mountains, Mozambique
12th April 2018

On the quest to discover and protect Mozambique’s unique plant diversity

Google Earth has launched a virtual exploration of Kew’s Tropical Important Plant Areas. In this blog post, Kew botanist Iain Darbyshire describes the ongoing efforts to discover the most important sites for plants in Mozambique. With the help of satellite technology we can explore and conserve these areas for future generations.
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Image showing Staff members of the Forestry Research Division getting to grips with seed collecting techniques.
4th April 2018

Building a National Seed Collection in Zambia

The partnership between Zambia’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has been formally launched. With seed collecting at its heart, the project will support the conservation of some of Zambia’s most threatened plants.
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Image showing new species discovered: New species discovered: Favolaschia calocera & Hohenbuehelia bonii
22nd March 2018

The final year of the Lost and Found Fungi project

The Lost and Found Fungi project helps amateur mycologists discover the UK’s most rarely seen fungal treasures. As we reach the final year of recording we assess the project’s successes so far.
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Image showing Fragment of barkcloth collected in the Solomon Islands by Lady Robinson in 1876 and conserved as a Master's project by Elizabeth Palacios, Centre for Textile Conservation, University of Glasgow (E. Palacios).
15th March 2018

Launching the Science Collections Strategy 2018–2028

The strategy’s editors describe how this important document will guide the development of Kew’s globally important Science Collections over the next ten years.
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image showing some of Kew's female scientists
8th March 2018

250 years of women in botany

To mark International Women’s Day – and also 100 years of Suffrage – we take a moment to celebrate the pioneering female researchers and scientists in botany.
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Image showing Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus)
28th February 2018

Plants and the evolution of anticancer drugs

Kew scientist Melanie-Jayne Howes shares the impact that drug discovery from plants has had on biodiversity, humanity and conservation.
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Image showing a White lupin field in Amhara region of Ethiopia. Photo by Heather Sanders
26th February 2018

Lupins: bitter plants with a sweet after-taste

This tough, resilient and bitter legume crop once fuelled the Roman legions and the Incas. It can now be found in bar snacks, baby food and ice cream. Matthew Nelson tells the story behind the plant.
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Image showing collection box with mushrooms
19th February 2018

Discovering fungal diversity in Colombia

As part of a scientific collaboration between RBG Kew and Colombia, a team of mycologists are in the field working together on an exciting challenge – to identify the total diversity of fungi in Boyacá
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Image showing the winner for Moyenne Guinée: Vernonia djalonensis
14th February 2018

Guinea: The Campaign for a National Flower

The Republic of Guinea is on a mission; to boost awareness of their incredible biodiversity through a new National Flower Campaign. Kew scientist Charlotte Couch, working on the Tropical Important Plant Area’s of the Republic of Guinea project, gives us an insight into the work so far.
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Image showing the group Collecting herbarium specimens in the Páramo
29th January 2018

Opening the Boyacá Seed Bank in Colombia

After a Seed Conservation Techniques Training Course by Kew Scientists, the first native seed bank of Colombia was opened in a historic building at the Humboldt Institute, Villa de Leyva.
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Image showing Digitisation officer Wiebke Hillebrecht photographing Brazilian sedges
24th January 2018

Contribute to Kew’s scientific work – we need your help!

Kew needs your help – join us on a digital adventure to Singapore, retracing the collection of plants first found over 100 years ago.
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Image showing Kew PhD student Lucy Dablin and assistants plant trees
15th January 2018

Cattle in the Amazon: A hidden opportunity?

Kew scientists describe an experiment in the Amazon which they hope will revolutionise cattle farming.
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Image showing Tsaratanana Strict Nature Reserve. There are no roads or even paths through this forest, not yet fully explored and protected by its inaccessibility
9th January 2018

Climbing Madagascar’s highest mountain

Kew Scientist, Maria Vorontsova, joins a team of botanists from Madagascar and China on a challenging expedition to find rare species of bamboo.
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Image showing Pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) in flower in Auckland Botanic Gardens
21st December 2017

Sacred trees under threat

As Christmas approaches, crimson flowers of Pōhutukawa trees line the streets of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand). Widely regarded as the national Christmas tree and deeply associated with Māori culture, this species and its relatives are under threat.
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