Drawing on Kew’s rich and varied collections, we undertake comparative research that combines depth in the analytical approaches applied with breadth of diversity studied to generate authoritative and wide-ranging insights on the systematics, evolution, and traits of major plant and fungal groups. By studying all levels of organisation, from genes to whole organisms, we aim to explain how plants and fungi evolve, interact with each other and their environment and respond to global change.
Lineage-specific research on plant and fungal groups. We aim to develop great depth of expertise in globally important groups of plants and fungi. Our lineage experts are leaders in the taxonomy and systematics of their groups, and apply this knowledge to broader evolutionary and ecological questions. The targeted groups cover all major regions and habitats of the world, and are used as scientific proxies for those areas.
Trait-based research across plant and fungal lineages. Cutting across plant and fungal diversity, we focus on specific trait sets to explore the genomic, cellular and ecological processes underpinning global plant and fungi diversity. Key traits currently being investigated include seed behaviour, floral evolution, structural and chemical characteristics and genomic diversity.
Building the tree of life of plants and fungi. The evolutionary tree of life underpins all of our research. It provides a fundamental roadmap for exploring and predicting patterns of diversity, and for understanding its drivers and future. Building the tree of life for plants and fungi remains a long term research priority for Kew.
Delivering Kew’s laboratory infrastructure. We provide and develop the breadth of lab infrastructure to ensure that Kew’s scientists can undertake world-class research that maximizes the value of our diverse collections.
Conducting fundamental research on the classification and evolution of plants
Investigating the evolution of plant traits and their responses to global change
Examining diversity and adaptations in seeds, from longevity to germination
Exploring the diversity and evolution of the world’s fungi
Delivering and developing lab infrastructure and techniques for Kew Science
Learn more here about the interesting and diverse projects of Kew's Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology department.
Learn more about how we are working to better understand how the world’s plants and fungi are related to each other and how they have evolved.
Kew’s DNA and Tissue Bank contains approximately 58,000 samples representing nearly all families and over half the genera of flowering plants.
Within the vault of the Millennium Seed Bank is the Seed Collection, which represents the greatest concentration of living seed-plant biodiversity on earth.
The Plant DNA C-values Database currently contains data for 8510 plant species.
Palmweb contains data compiled by palm diversity experts for all 2,585 palm species and 188 genera.