The strength and breadth of Kew’s collections provide an unparalleled opportunity to understand plant and fungal diversity and to carry out research to support our scientific vision. Kew’s collections and expertise are at the heart of the science carried out both here and in institutions across the globe. Thus, we are developing the collections to support the science foci of this strategy, while also maintaining the global representation of plant and fungal diversity necessary to document large-scale patterns of diversity and change, and to respond to future challenges.
Managing the flow of specimens in and out of the herbarium and curation of the Spirit and Fungarium collection, and ensuring compliance with legislation.
Research, curation and management of our ethnographic and wood collections.
Making our Herbarium and Fungarium collections digitally accessible and managing our collections databases.
Management and curation of our DNA and Tissue Bank, and Microscope slide collection, and development of these collections to support research and access.
Managing and curating the collections of the Millennium Seed Bank and research into seed storage, longevity and germination.
Herbarium Size: c. 7 million preserved dried specimens
Spirit Collection Size: c. 76,000 specimens preserved in spirit
Fungarium Size: c. 1,250,000 preserved dry fungal specimens.
Economic Botany Collection Size: 100,000 specimens. A broad range of samples documenting use of plants by people, including 42,000 wood collections.
Microscope Slide Collection Size: c. 150,000 specimens. Microscope slides documenting plant and fungal anatomy, including c.40,000 slides of pollen, c.36,000 slides of wood.
DNA and Tissue Bank Size: 58,000 specimens. 48,000 samples of plant genomic DNA stored at -80°C and 10,000 silica dried tissue samples at room temperature.
Living Seed Collection Size: 86,000 specimens. Seed collections representing over 38,500 species, held in the Millennium Seed Bank, with over 2 billion individual seeds.
Learn more about the interesting and diverse projects of Kew's Collections department.
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Find out more about Kew's botanical and mycological collections as well as its library, art and archive collections.