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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.
7th August 2018

Celebrating 25 years of Smith College Kew interns

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Smith College Kew Internship Program which was first initiated by a visit to Kew by Smith College alumna Paula Deitz in 1993. Kew’s Mike Fay shares how the Program has inspired some fantastic careers and achievements.
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1st August 2018

Rescued from danger and flown to safety: Journey from field to Kew’s frozen vault

Kew scientists discover a critically endangered new plant species and secure its survival by conserving seeds at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.
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Image showing Leaves of five different Aloe species, could you tell them apart? From left to right: Aloe arborescens, A. aageodonta, A. porphyrostachys, A. nyeriensis and A. megalacantha
24th July 2018

What plant is this? Scan the genomic barcode!

Kew researchers are involved in Plant.ID, a European training network to find better ways to identify plant samples using DNA as a plant’s ‘barcode’.
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compilation of images from the trip to New york for the 50th and 25th anniversaries of CBHL and EBHL
18th July 2018

Celebrating 50 years of library collaboration

Fiona Ainsworth, Head of Library, Art and Archives at RBG Kew, reflects on the importance of meeting her counterparts in botanical and horticultural organisations across the world.
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Unlike the widely cultivated and sterile Cavendish Banana, the Madagascar Banana Ensete perrieri has small fruit which contain seeds
6th July 2018

The critically endangered Madagascar Banana

Kew scientists tell the tale of the critically endangered Madagascar Banana (Ensete perrieri), a wild relative of the domesticated banana millions of us eat every day.
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Image showing The germplasm or seeds. ‘Orthodox’ seeds are those that can be stored in traditional seed banks
28th June 2018

The tale of the sleeping beauties unveiled

Kew scientists delve deep into the seed vault of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank to uncover the conservation value of the seeds stored at -20°C.
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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. At this year’s Kew Science Festival at Wakehurst (21-22 July) you can try it for yourself in our lupin-flavoured ice cream.
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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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