Mark Nesbitt

Research Leader, Economic Botany


Curation of and research into the Economic Botany Collection; co-ordination of Kent/Kew MSc in Ethnobotany; output leader for Science in the Gardens (public outreach).

Curation of the Economic Botany Collection, including managing acquisitions, conservation, loans, sampling and hosting of researchers. Part of team managing Museum Accredition across Kew, including development of collection policies and standards. Research into useful plants informed by Kew's collections, science strategy and heritage. Research portfolio includes plant fibres (barkcloth, textiles, basketry), medicinal plants and the history of useful plants and botanic institutions in the last 200 years. Strong collaborative links with universities, including coordination of the Kent-Kew MSc in Ethnobotany. Output leader for Science in the Gardens (public outreach at Kew).

Strategic Outputs 2020

Output Leader for Science in the Gardens


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc, Agricultural Botany, Univ. Reading, 1983.
  • MSc, Bioarchaeology, Univ. London, 1984.
  • PhD, Univ. College London, 1997.
  • Editorial Board, Turkish Journal of Botany.
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine.
  • Committee, European Chapter, Society for Economic Botany.
  • Honorary Senior Lecturer, Institute of Archaeology, UCL.
  • Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Anthropology, University of Kent.


Selected publications: 

Salick, J., Konchar, K. & Nesbitt, M. (eds) (2014). Curating biocultural collections: a handbook. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Available online

Cornish, C., Gasson, P. & Nesbitt, M. (2014), The wood collection (xylarium) of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. IAWA Journal 35: 85-104. Available online

Brennan, E., Harris, L.-A. & Nesbitt, M. (2013). Jamaican lace-bark: its history and uncertain future. Textile History 44: 235–253. Available online

Nesbitt, M., McBurney, R. P. H., Broin, M. & Beentje, H. J. (2010). Linking biodiversity, food and nutrition: The importance of plant identification and nomenclature. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 23: 486–498. Available online

Nesbitt, M., Prosser, R. & Williams, I., (2010). Rice-paper plant - Tetrapanax papyrifer: the Gauze of the Gods and its products. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine 27: 71-92. Available online