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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 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.
16th October 2017

Kew journeys into the wilds of Indonesia

Kew scientist and Head of the Identification and Naming Department, Tim Utteridge, describes a recent trip to Indonesia and work that Kew is doing with the country to record and protect its incredibly rich plant diversity.
Titan Arum
9th October 2017


Kew Scientist Geoffrey Kite and Amorphophallus expert Wilbert Hetterscheid explain why they spent their evenings trying to capture the odours of some of the world's weirdest and smelliest 'flowers'.
27th September 2017

Do lime trees kill bees?

Hauke Koch and Phil Stevenson investigate the theories behind the mysterious mass deaths of bees on lime trees, and other effects of pollen and nectar chemicals on pollinators.
18th September 2017

Treating tropical ulcers: the quest for a plant-based cure

Kew scientist Tom Prescott describes his search for a plant medicine to treat tropical ulcers in remote areas of Papua New Guinea.
12th September 2017

Madagascar’s wildlife – a President’s vision

The President of Madagascar visits Kew and discusses critical wildlife conservation in the country with our scientists and members of Kew’s Madagascar Conservation Centre. Kew has strong links to Madagascar, employing a team of Malagasy botanists who implement a range of projects focused on plant diversity, research and conservation.