Dr Henk Beentje

Honorary Research Associate


Accelerated Taxonomy




Taxonomy, conservation.

After a thesis on the taxonomy a genus of Apocynaceae (Strophanthus) I worked as a jack of all trades in the East African Herbarium, Nairobi, for five years; a lot of field work, a lot of herbarium curation, and meeting a lot of Kenyan and international researchers. There followed a stint as a freelance consultant, working on the “Centres of Plant Diversity” publication, as well as doing inventories of forests on Zanzibar and Pemba.

In 1991 I started working for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on a fixed term contract of three years revising the palms of Madagascar under John Dransfield; we found so many new species that the donor added an extra year to my contract. In 1995 I joined RBG Kew as a full member of staff, working on the Compositae of East Africa under Nicholas Hind. In 1997 I also took on the editorship of the Flora of Tropical East Africa, editing 86 parts and writing up fourteen families.

I retired from Kew in 2013 and continued writing flora treatments (for Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Gabon, Central Africa and Zambesiaca); I am also an active member of the East African Plant Red Listing Authority, with whom I have, since 2005, prepared more than 2000 Red List assessments.

  • PhD Agricultural Sciences (Plant Systematics), University of Wageningen, 1982
  • MSc Biology (Plant Sciences), University of Amsterdam, 1978
  • BSc Biology, University of Amsterdam, 1973


  • Engler Medal in Silver, 2012-13
  • Kew Medal, 2012
  • Botanical editor, Webbia (University of Firenze), 2010-
  • Editorial board member, Flore d’Afrique Centrale (Brussels Herbarium), 2010- 

Beentje, H. (2016)

The Kew Plant Glossary: An Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Terms (Second Edition)

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 9781842466049.

Kalema, J. & Beentje, H.J. (2012).

Conservation Checklist of the Trees of Uganda.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 9781842463772. Available to buy online.

Hoenselaar, K., Verdcourt, B. & Beentje, H.J. (2010).


In Beentje, H. (ed.) Flora of Tropical East Africa. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 978842463970.

Beentje, H.J. and Bandeira, S. (2007)

Field Guide to the Mangrove Trees of Africa and Madagascar

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 9781842461358. Available to buy online.

Dransfield, J. and Beentje, H.J. (1995).

The Palms of Madagascar.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 9780947643829.

Beentje, H.J. (1994)

Kenya Trees, Shrubs and Lianas

National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi. ISBN 9789966986108.

Get in touch




+ 44 (0) 208 332 5210