Americas team

We undertake research on, curate, and identify the herbarium specimens that Kew holds from the Americas, publishing new species, 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 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 plant systematics, taxonomic monographs and revisions, floristic treatments such as contributions to regional Floras, Checklists and Identification tools for our focus plant groups: Acanthaceae, Anisophylleaceae, Araceae, Achariaceae, Asteraceae, Caryocaraceae, Chrysobalanaceae, Convolvulaceae, Dichapetalaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Eriocaulaceae, Erythroxylaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Humiriaceae, Lamiaceae, Lecythidaceae, Malvaceae, Meliaceae, 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. In this connection, we are especially active undertaking IUCN extinction risk assessments.
The team provides teachers for several Kew courses (for example, the MSc in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation and the Introduction to botany for non-scientists). Through our research projects we provide in-country capacity building in taxonomy and plant identification methodology, and in best-practice herbarium management.

Curation and identification of our Americas herbarium specimens is a major team activity, including preparing and incorporating new specimens from fieldwork and exchanges, integrated pest management, and hosting visiting researchers. The team has a broad knowledge of tropical American plant diversity and do our best to identify any plant specimen. In addition to our research plant groups (see above), we also have specialist knowledge in plants belonging to the following plant groups:  Alismatales, Anacardiaceae, Annonaceae, Burseraceae, Dipsacaceae, Ebenaceae, Euphorbiaceae s.l., ferns, Malphigiaceae, Ochnaceae, Rhamnaceae, Rutaceae, Sapindaceae, Solanaceae, and Valerianaceae. 

Team members

Senior research leader
Dr Bente Klitgård

Research leaders
Dr Nicholas Hind
Dr Alex Monro

Senior curator-botanists
Anna Haigh
Sue Zmarzty

Nicola Biggs
Sara Edwards
Sue Frisby

Bolivia TIPAs coordinator
Rosemary Clegg

Honorary research fellows
Dr Raymond Harley
David Hunt
Terry Pennington
Professor Sir Ghillean Prance

Honorary research associates
Simon Mayo
Cynthia Sothers
Brian Stannard
John Wood

PhD students
Juliana Cardozo de Farias
Lucy Dablin
Pablo Hendrigo
Long-Fei Fu 
Karena Mendes Pimenta 
Maria Gracelia Paiva Nascimento