Close up of palm leaf
kew.org > Blogs > Kew Science blog

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.
Collecting seed of Agave schawii ssp. goldmaniana for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership, Baja, Mexico (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
3rd August 2015

Safe for the future: seed conservation standards

Elinor Breman reflects on the development and implementation of seed conservation standards across the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership network.

Author
Maesa ramentacea, a species of tropical Primulaceae (Photo: T. Utteridge).
20th July 2015

More than cowslips: Primulaceae goes tropical

Our improved understanding of plant evolution has resulted in changes to many well-known families. Here, Tim Utteridge and Ruth Bone discuss their Primulaceae research, including the expansion of the family to include several tropical woody members.

Author
The Lubango Escarpment in SW Angola – an area of high diversity and endemism still revealing new species (Photo: D. Goyder)
6th July 2015

Angola’s hidden flora

Botanist David Goyder describes how Kew’s inventory work and recent participation in a major international expedition to Angola is helping to address gaps in our knowledge of plant diversity in southern Africa.

Author
Transverse section of Geonoma pinnatifrons subsp. vaga, a palm, showing the vascular bundles in detail. Although woody, this tissue is not secondary xylem (Photo: P. Gasson)
29th June 2015

Wood identification supports legal timber trade

Kew botanist Peter Gasson reveals the key role that wood identification plays in supporting the legal trade of timber and its products.

Author
Village technicians' tree nursery for the Great Green Wall in Djibo, Burkina Faso (Photo: M Sacande)
17th June 2015

Combating desertification

Kew’s work on the Great Green Wall initiative is highlighted by Moctar Sacande, to mark the United Nations’ World Day to Combat Desertification.

Author
Expedition vehicle stuck in mud
8th June 2015

Conserving Madagascar’s orchids

Recent research into orchid mycorrhizal fungi, and why this work is crucial for orchid conservation and habitat restoration in Madagascar, is revealed by Kew scientist Kaz Yokoya.

Author
Inga edulis in flower (Photo: G Lewis)
1st June 2015

Developing an identification key for the economically important genus Inga

Kew placement student Joe Bishop describes his work developing a quick and reliable tool for identifying species of Inga, an economically important tree genus native to Central and South America.

Author
22nd May 2015

Linking plant conservation and sustainable development

To mark International Day for Biological Diversity 2015, Tiziana Ulian highlights some of Kew’s projects relating to this year’s theme – Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.

Author
Booklouse (Liposcelis bostrychophila)
12th May 2015

Battle of the booklice

Kew’s Herbarium and Library are fighting an ongoing battle with pest insects that can feast on dried plant specimens and precious books. Jonathan Farley and Paul Green reveal how they are tackling these infestations.

Author
Small pugnacious ants (Anoplolepis steingroeveri) swarming a Leucospermum seed as they move it back to their nest (Photo: Adam J M Devenish).
6th May 2015

Invasion of Argentine ants

Iconic South African plants may be under threat from invasive Argentine ants. Kew scientist Adam Devenish investigates.

Author
Necklace from Peru of seeds of Oenocarpus, Ormosia and Coix lacryma-jobi, the woven band may be of Astrocaryum fibre (EBC 98112: Photo: F. Cook)
27th April 2015

Botanical jewellery

New acquisitions of botanical jewellery in Kew’s Economic Botany Collection illustrate how plant parts can be transformed into fascinating cultural objects.

Author
Seasonally dry woodland of the inter-Andean valleys of Bolivia (Photo: B.B. Klitgård)
13th April 2015

Documenting Bolivia's bountiful botany

Land-locked Bolivia has a wide range of vegetation types from its eastern plains to the mountainous Andes. After years of international collaboration, including the participation of 11 Kew scientists, Bolivian vascular plants have been comprehensively documented for the first time.

Author
Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to author a plant name in the Linnean system and author of A Curious Herbal.
30th March 2015

Mind the (gender) gap: Kew's records show fewer than 3% of land plant species published by women

A unique and complete dataset created and maintained by Kew scientists over the last 260 years, has revealed a striking difference in the number of new species of plants described by male and female botanists.

Author
Liriodendron tulipifera, an eastern North American representative of the magnoliid clade. (Photo: Wolf Eiserhardt)
23rd March 2015

What happens to the tree of life when climate changes?

Wolf Eiserhardt, Marie Curie Fellow at Kew, describes how past extinctions can be used to study the effect of climate change on the tree of life.

Author
Pressing specimens as part of the botanical inventory
9th March 2015

Resources for restoring Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest

The Bahian Atlantic forests are conservation hotspots. Eve Lucas describes how information gathered from botanical surveys and local knowledge provides an important resource to inform habitat restoration in the region.
Author
Photo shows a Welwitschia plant growing flat against the sandy ground
25th February 2015

Using evolutionary history to prioritise conservation

Using a recent example from Madagascar, Tim Harris describes how the evolutionary history of biodiverse areas can be taken into account when prioritising areas for conservation.
Author
Phalaenopsis amabilis (L.) Blume, painted by Marianne North.
10th February 2015

Discovering new orchids

André Schuiteman, research leader in Identification & Naming at Kew, describes how new orchid species are discovered and how we could speed up the process of discovery.
Author
MSB seed vault (Image: Wolfgang Stuppy)
20th January 2015

Evolutionary diversity in the Millennium Seed Bank

John Dickie, Head of Seed and Lab-based Collections at Kew, describes an approach to measuring and maximising the evolutionary diversity conserved in seed banks of wild species.
Author
Finn Michalak from Otari Native Botanic Garden collecting seeds of Aciphylla squarrosa in Titahi bay, New Zealand. (Photo: Peter Giovannini)
9th January 2015

Why and how are we saving seeds of Pacific island plants?

Kew has been developing an ambitious seed conservation programme in the Pacific region. Why should we direct our efforts to conserve native species of this region? Peter Giovannini explores some valuable reasons for investing resources in the conservation of Pacific floras and describes conservation activities to collect and store the seeds of the plant species of the Pacific region.
Author
Incense burners. Left: collected by Sir Douglas Forsyth’s mission to Yarkand, central Asia, 1871 (EBC 63412); right: From the Hadramut, Yemen, donated by the explorer Theodore Bent in 1895 (EBC 63411).
19th December 2014

Frankincense: resin with many stories

At a time of year when frankincense, myrrh and gold come to mind, Mark Nesbitt hunts for the scent of the Orient in Kew’s Economic Botany Collection.
Author

Pages