Kew's Fungarium > Kew Science > Collections > Collections overview

Collections overview

Find out more about Kew's botanical and mycological collections.

With over 8.5 million items, Kew houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world. They represent over 95% of known flowering plant genera and more than 60% of known fungal genera.

The collections include around 7 million dried plant specimens in the Herbarium (including 74,000 in spirit); over 1.25 million dried fungal specimens in the Fungarium; over 150,000 glass microscopes slides detailing plant micro-traits; 100,000 economic botany specimens; the world’s largest wild plant DNA and tissue bank (including 50,000 DNA samples representing over 35,000 species and around 7,000 genera); and over 2 billion seeds (from over 37,000 species) in the Millennium Seed Bank; one of the world’s largest plant and fungal Library, Art and Archive collections; and a living collection of over 19,000 plant species spanning two sites (Kew Gardens and Wakehurst Place). 

Alongside the physical collections, Kew holds a vast and growing collection of plant and fungal-related data and databases storing information on collections, names, taxonomy, traits, distributions, phylogenies, phenology and conservation.

Global biodiversity science relies on information, images and samples of living organisms being readily available to researchers. To maximise reach and impact, these resources and data need to be digitally available and thus discoverable, accessible and citable. Kew is committed to sharing its collections and knowledge for the benefit of scientific research, government policy and public understanding of plant and fungal diversity. Approximately 20% of the collections are currently digitally available and we aim to make 80% of our collections digitally available by 2020.