Identifying a plant in the field > Kew Science > Who we are and what we do > Departments > Identification and Naming

Identification and Naming

Accurate taxonomy forms the bedrock on which all of Kew’s pure and applied science is based.

Head, Identification and Naming (and Senior Research Leader, Asia): Dr Tim Utteridge 

Assistant Head, Identification and Naming: [to be confirmed]

The Identification and Naming department comprises four teams (Africa & Madagascar, Americas, Asia, and Mycology). Each undertakes fundamental taxonomic research and inventories, developing innovative projects to address Kew’s research questions while supporting and enhancing the collections. 

Priorities for the Identification and Naming department are:

  • Enhancing species discovery and accelerating the speed at which new species descriptions are made accessible to the global scientific community.
  • Continuing the global inventory of species and the production of Floras and eFloras in collaboration with international partners, with maximum coverage for Kew’s focal regions in the tropics.
  • Working to complete a full account of known fungal species, and to significantly increase the number of fungal taxa reported (for example, carrying out full fungal inventories in key regions such as the UK Overseas Territories).
  • Driving forward e-taxonomy and new technologies for the discovery, description and identification of biodiversity.
  • Improving the value of the collections – Kew’s primary naming and identification resource – through optimising accurate naming and curation, and improving the linkages between basic taxonomic knowledge and its applications, particularly in the areas of conservation and plant health.
  • Providing assistance to non-specialists, citizen science communities etc, through development of user-friendly identification guides in printed and electronic form.