Frances E. M. Cook

Economic Botany Collections Assistant


Job title: 
Economic Botany Collections Assistant


Frances Cook

My work with the internationally important Economic Botany Collections involves cataloguing accessions and caring for specimens by implementing good collection management practices. I liaise with and support researchers wishing to use the material, and demonstrate the importance and value of the collections to scientists and other visitors to the collection. During my career in economic botany at Kew I have gained practical identification skills for ingredients in potpourri, herbal medicines, seeds and botanical jewellery and have experience with databases, information dissemination, arid land species, poisonous plants as well as general economic botany. I have a particular interest in wild-harvested plants in trade with potential conservation concerns and have researched the relationship between UK potpourri and the Indian herbal healthcare industry.


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), Univ. Liverpool, 1979
  • MSc, Univ. College of North Wales, Bangor, 1981


Selected publications: 

Sousa, M. M., Melo, M. J., Parola, A. J., de Melo, J. S. S., Catarino, R., Pina, F., Cook, F. E. M., Simmonds, M. S. J. & Lopez, J. A. (2008). Flavylium chromophores as species markers for dragon’s blood resins from Dracaenaand Daemonorops trees. Journal of Chromatography A 1209(1-2):153-161. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.09.007

Cook, F. E. M. (2007). What’s in the pack? Palm potpourri ingredients. Palms51(3): 127-137.

Peters, C. R. & Cook, F. E. M. (1996). Uses of African plants. In: The Biodiversity of African Plants. Proceedings XIV AETFAT Congress 22-27 August 1994, Wageningen, The Netherlands, ed. van der Maesen, L.J.G., van der Burgt, X.M. & van Medenbach de Rooy, J.M. pp.661- 768. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Cook, F. E. M. (1995). Economic Botany Data Collection Standard. Prepared for the International Working Group on Taxonomic Databases for Plant Sciences (TDWG). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 146 pp. Available online

Booth, F. E. M. & Wickens, G. E. (1988). Non-timber uses of selected arid zone trees and shrubs in Africa. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Available online