Kew’s vast scientific collections of plants and fungi from across the globe lie at the heart of the organisation. They provide the foundation for describing and understanding the world’s plant and fungal diversity, helping to find solutions to some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity. Now, for the first time in Kew’s history there is a formal strategy setting out a framework for managing, developing and providing greater access to the Science Collections over the next decade.
The Science Collections are a global resource for plant and fungal knowledge and comprise:
• the Herbarium – 7 million pressed plant specimens
• the Spirit Collection – 76,000 specimens preserved in spirit
• the Fungarium – 1.25 million specimens of dried fungi & over 1,000 fungal cultures in liquid nitrogen
• the Economic Botany Collection – 100,000 samples documenting the use of plants by humans
• the Seed Collection at the Millennium Seed Bank – 86,000 collections and over 2 billion seeds
• the DNA and Tissue Bank – 48,000 samples of plant genomic DNA & 10,000 tissue samples
• the Microscope Slide Collection – 150,000 microscope slides of plant and fungal anatomy
• the In Vitro Collection – 6,000 living plant and fungi cultures in jars of agar
Kew’s Science Collections Strategy is a document that sets out a framework for the development of Kew’s Science Collections over the next decade. It asks four key questions:
• What collections do we currently have?
• What current and future collections are critical to our research priorities;
• How do we manage and develop our collections?
• How do we increase access to our collections?
To better understand the collections, we aim to complete an audit of all our Science Collections – to include an understanding of age, quality of specimens and geographical scope.
To support our research priorities, critical gaps in the collections will be filled in line with Kew’s scientific vision and research priorities. We will focus collecting activities on vascular plants and fungi that:
To manage and develop our collections, we will:
To increase access to our collections, we will:
Kew’s Science Collections cover an estimated 95% of vascular plant genera and 60% of fungal genera and are fundamental to describing and understanding plant and fungal life on Earth. These collections underpin research that can help find solutions to some of the greatest challenges faced by humanity – climate change, food security and disease. This strategy aims to ensure the great value of the Science Collections are preserved and enhanced for the future of plant and fungal science.
- Alan, Rhian and Kathy -
For the first time in Kew’s history, there is a formal strategy to set out a framework for managing, developing and providing greater access to the Science Collections over the next decade.
With over 8.5 million items, Kew houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world. They represent approximately 95% of vascular plant genera and 60% of fungal genera.
Our scientific vision is to document and understand global plant and fungal diversity and its uses, bringing authoritative expertise to bear on the critical challenges facing humanity today.