Access the Economic Botany Collection

Access the Economic Botany Collection online, find out how to arrange a visit or a loan.

Jars of old oils found in Kew's Economic Botany Collection

The Economic Botany Collection has over 100,000 objects representing how life depends on plants all around the world. Find out how to access the collection online, arrange a visit or a loan, or to send in specimens.


The Economic Botany Collection Database holds records of all specimens in the collection.

The database can be searched by many categories, including plant name, country, region, plant part and uses. Specimen labels, Museum Entry Books, collection files and Kew’s main Archives are all important additional sources of information. 

To arrange a visit  

We welcome visits from academics for research purposes.

The public can only visit these collections via special events such as group visits, festivals or other public engagements. 

Please contact for more information.

Book your research visit to the Economic Botany Collection

Loans and sampling

Loans to other museums allow us to reach wider and larger audiences. We do everything we can to facilitate loans to suitable venues, including often sharing packaging and couriering with other London-based lenders.

There are minimum requirements for security and environmental control which limit loans to certain types of venue.

Destructive sampling of raw materials, for example for DNA or chemical characterisation, is permitted for projects that meet criteria for scientific impact and methodology.

Where substantial assistance in choosing samples is given — usually the case — the relevant Kew staff member is usually a co-author on a resulting publication.

Sampling of artefacts is only undertaken where it will result in substantially increased understanding of the object, for example through radiocarbon dating.

To send in specimens

Please do not send in unsolicited or unaddressed specimens or materials. Before sending us specimens please contact us.

Contact Mark Nesbitt 

Economic Botany Collection 
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew  
TW9 3AB