We research, curate and identify Kew’s collections from the Americas, publishing new taxa, taxonomic monographs and revisions, and floristic treatments.

Pink flower of Acanthaceae lepidagathis floribunda

Team lead: Dr Bente Klitgård

Our research is collections-based and mostly in the tropical Americas, particularly in Tropical Important Plant Area (TIPA) phase 1 and 2 countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama.

Our main outputs are focussed on comparative plant systematics, taxonomic monographs and revisions, generating biological collections (primary data) from poorly documented areas of tropical America in partnership with in-country collaborators, writing floristic treatments such as contributions to regional Floras and Checklists, and Identification tools.

Our research is focussed on the Acanthaceae, Anisophylleaceae, Araceae, Achariaceae, Caryocaraceae, Chrysobalanaceae, Clusiaceae, Compositae, Convolvulaceae, Dichapetalaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Eriocaulaceae, Erythroxylaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Humiriaceae, Lamiaceae, Lecythidaceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae, Moraceae, Orchidaceae, Passifloraceae, Pentaphylacaceae, Poaceae, Proteaceae, Rhizophoraceae, Salicaceae, Sapotaceae, Ulmaceae and Urticaceae.

With local partners in our focus countries, we are demonstrating the need for in situ conservation and its prioritisation by implementing the Tropical Important Plant Areas approach.

We undertake habitat assessments and species extinction risk assessments both with partners from across Kew and with our in-country partners.

The team also provides teachers for several Kew courses (e.g. Kew’s MSc in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation, Kew’s Horticulture Diploma, Introduction to botany for non-scientists), and give ad hoc classes and courses to various university courses.

Through our research projects we also provide in-country capacity building in taxonomy and plant identification, and in IUCN species extinction risk and TIPAs assessment methods.

Members of the Americas team, like those of other Kew teams, contribute to the wider scientific community by serving on editorial committees of many scientific journals, or sit on committees of various societies in the UK and abroad.

Inside Kew, team members chair the Margaret Mee Fellowship Programme general committee and Margaret Mee Artist Scholarship judging committee, as well as manage the botanical artist programme in RBG, Kew.

They also sit on DEFRA’s GESAC (Group Evidence Science and Analysis Committee) Sub-committee on International Science and the CETAF (Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities) Collections Storage group. 

Team members

Senior research leader
Dr Bente Klitgård

Research leaders
Dr Nicholas Hind
Dr Alex Monro

Dr Manuel Luján Anzola

Project staff
Ruth Delgado
Maira Martinez
Dr Raquel Negrão
Dr Daniel Villarroel

Honorary Research Fellows
Dr Raymond Harley
Dr Terry Pennington
Professor Sir Ghillean Prance
Honorary Research Associates
Dr Simon Mayo
Dr Steve Renvoize
Brian Stannard
John Wood

PhD students
Rosie Clegg
Juliana Cardozo de Farias
Karen dos Santos Teixeira
Karena Mendes Pimenta 
Maria Gracelia Paiva Nascimento