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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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
18th December 2017

Is mistletoe more than just an excuse for a kiss?

Mike Fay explores our long relationship with mistletoe, and delves into its biological peculiarities.
The specimen tree of Dinizia jueirana-facao from which the collection designated as the type was prepared (Photo © G.P. Lewis)
11th December 2017

Probably the world's heaviest living organism described in 2017?

Kew scientist Gwilym Lewis describes his involvement in and the process of discovering a new tree species in Brazil, as tall as a 12 storey building and as heavy as a sperm whale!
5th December 2017

Tubers in Trouble

Serene Hargreaves and Paul Wilkin report on the risk of extinction in Dioscorea, revealing how threatened they are, and why it matters.
Image showing flowers and fruit of 'Keraudenia' at Botak.
27th November 2017

Species discovery and seed banking in New Guinea, Indonesia

Martin Cheek describes a recent research trip to New Guinea, where a team of Kew scientists stumbled upon a new species on the roadside.
Image showing Salix herbacea
17th November 2017

Could fungi determine which plants survive, and which don’t?

Relationships between plants and fungi are important and more complex than previously thought, influencing the ability of ecosystems to adapt to impacts such as climate change.
Image showing that Colombia has at least 91 different types of ecosystems
9th November 2017

Colombia: megadiverse and still to be discovered

Mauricio Diazgranados reveals how Kew is contributing to the ‘green’ development of this country through capacity building and scientific research on its natural resources.
7th November 2017

Six continents, five years: one big plant book

Plants of the World – An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants, the first to describe all 451 families of flowering plants, ferns, lycopods and gymnosperms, has been published.
30th October 2017

The Empty Quarter: Arabia’s disappearing plant life

Emma Seal introduces a new Kew project in Oman, set to safeguard the unique Arabian flora of the region.
Wild flower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators including bees
23rd October 2017

Plant colours are not all about pigments

Kew Scientist Paula Rudall reflects on a long-term Cambridge-Kew collaboration on why structural colour in plants is so important in the natural world, including helping birds and bees to find food and pollinate flowers.