The Tree of Life Initiative

Expanding and populating the tree of life for plants and fungi

Palm tree leaves in sunlight

The tree of life is the fundamental biological roadmap for navigating the evolution and properties of life on Earth.

This Initiative will build on the successes of the Plant and Fungal Trees of Life (PAFTOL) project to deliver a further step change in our knowledge.

It will equip us with the tools to accelerate efforts to document, identify and classify plants and fungi, to explore their useful properties, to understand their origins and evolution, and to predict how species will respond to future environmental change.

Using Kew’s unrivalled collections, we will complete the tree of life for both plants and fungi at the genus level, in collaboration with our partners around the world.

This will include all 13,600 angiosperm genera and half of the 8,000 fungal genera.

The most up-to-date view of the tree of life and the genomic data that underpin it are being made freely available online via the Kew Tree of Life Explorer.

These data will also drive research on taxonomy, evolutionary biology, trait discovery and ecosystem stewardship.