Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Kew royalbritannicgardens logo.png
Type Non-departmental public body
Key people
£65.6 million [1]

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (brand name Kew) is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. An internationally important botanical research and education institution, it employs 1,100 staff. [1] Its board of trustees is chaired by Dame Amelia Fawcett.


The organisation manages botanic gardens at Kew in Richmond upon Thames in southwest London, and at Wakehurst, a National Trust property in Sussex which is home to the internationally important Millennium Seed Bank, whose scientists work with partner organisations in more than 95 countries. [2] Kew, jointly with the Forestry Commission, founded Bedgebury National Pinetum in Kent in 1923, specialising in growing conifers. [3] In 1994 the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, which runs the Yorkshire Arboretum, was formed as a partnership between Kew and the Castle Howard Estate. [4]

In 2018 the organisation had 1,858,513 public visitors at Kew, and 354,957 at Wakehurst. [5] Its 326-acre (132 ha) site at Kew has 40 historically important buildings; it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 3 July 2003. [6] The collections at Kew and Wakehurst include over 27,000 taxa of living plants, [7] 8.3 million plant and fungal herbarium specimens, and over 40,000 species in the seed bank. [8]


Kew is governed by a board of trustees which comprises a chairman and eleven members. Ten members and the chairman are appointed by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Her Majesty the Queen appoints her own trustee on the recommendation of the Secretary of State. As of 2019 the Board members are: [9]

Scientific staff

There are approximately 350 researchers working at Kew. [10] The Director of Science is Professor Alexandre Antonelli. Professor Monique Simmonds is Deputy Director of Science. Professor Mark Chase is Senior Research Professor. Professor Phil Stevenson is the Senior Research Leader and Head of the Biological Chemistry and In Vitro Research. The group has four Research Leaders, Dr Melanie Howes, Dr Vis Sarasan, Dr Moses Langat and Dr Tom Prescott. [11]

Resources at Kew

International Plant Names Index

The Harvard University Herbaria and the Australian National Herbarium co-operate with Kew in the IPNI (International Plant Names Index) database, a project which was launched in 1999 to produce an authoritative source of information on botanical nomenclature including publication details. The IPNI includes information from the Index Kewensis , a project which began in the 19th century to provide an "Index to the Names and Authorities of all known flowering plants and their countries". [12]

The Plant List

Kew also cooperates with the Missouri Botanical Garden in a related project called The Plant List; unlike the IPNI, it provides information on which names are currently accepted. The Plant List is an Internet encyclopedia project which was launched in 2010 to compile a comprehensive list of botanical nomenclature. [13] The Plant List has 1,064,035 scientific plant names of species rank of which 350,699 are accepted species names. In addition, the list has 642 plant families and 17,020 plant genera. [14]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bedgebury National Pinetum

Bedgebury National Pinetum at Bedgebury, Kent, in the United Kingdom, is a recreational and conservational arboretum and, with the National Arboretum at Westonbirt, comprises the UK National Arboreta. It was established as the National Conifer Collection in 1925 and is now recognised as the most complete collection of conifers on one site anywhere in the world. The collection has over 10,000 trees growing across 320 acres (1.3 km2), including rare, endangered and historically important specimens. Bedgebury National Pinetum conducts conservation work and is home to some 56 vulnerable or critically endangered species and houses five NCCPG National Plant Collections.

Arboretum botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants intended at least partly for scientific study

An arboretum in a general sense is a botanical collection composed exclusively of trees. More commonly a modern arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants and is intended at least in part for scientific study.

International Plant Names Index Database of plant names

The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) describes itself as "a database of the names and associated basic bibliographical details of seed plants, ferns and lycophytes." Coverage of plant names is best at the rank of species and genus. It includes basic bibliographical details associated with the names. Its goals include eliminating the need for repeated reference to primary sources for basic bibliographic information about plant names.

The National Plant Collection scheme is the main conservation vehicle whereby the Plant Heritage, formerly National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens (NCCPG) can accomplish its mission: to conserve, grow, propagate, document and make available the resource of garden plants that exists in the United Kingdom.

The Index Kewensis (IK), maintained by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is a publication that aims to register all botanical names for seed plants at the rank of species and genera. It later came to include names of taxonomic families and ranks below that of species.

RHS Garden, Wisley Botanical Garden

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is one of five gardens run by the Society, the others being Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor, and Bridgewater. Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the United Kingdom after the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with 1,071,088 visitors in 2018.

Index Fungorum is an international project to index all formal names in the fungus kingdom. As of 2015 the project is based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, one of three partners along with Landcare Research and the Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

William Turner Thiselton-Dyer British botanist

Sir William Turner Thiselton-Dyer was a leading British botanist, and the third director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

<i>Ulmus wallichiana</i> species of plant

Ulmus wallichianaPlanch., the Himalayan elm, also known as the Kashmir elm and Bhutan elm, is a mountain tree ranging from central Nuristan in Afghanistan, through northern Pakistan and northern India to western Nepal at elevations of 800–3000 m. Although dissimilar in appearance, its common name is occasionally used in error for the cherry bark elm Ulmus villosa, which is also endemic to the Kashmir, but inhabits the valleys, not the mountain slopes. The species is closely related to the wych elm U. glabra.

<i>Ulmus bergmanniana</i> species of plant

Ulmus bergmannianaC.K.Schneid., commonly known as Bergmann's elm, is a deciduous tree found across much of China in forests at elevations of 1500–3000 m.

<i>Ulmus castaneifolia</i> species of plant

Ulmus castaneifoliaHemsley, the chestnut-leafed elm or multinerved elm, is a small deciduous tree found across much of China in broadleaved forests at elevations of 500–1,600 metres (1,600–5,200 ft).

<i>Ulmus villosa</i> species of plant

Ulmus villosaBrandis ex Gamble, the cherry-bark elm or Marn elm, is one of the more distinctive Asiatic elms, and a species capable of remarkable longevity. It is endemic to the valleys of the Kashmir at elevations of 1200–2500 m but has become increasingly rare owing to its popularity as cattle fodder, and mature trees are now largely restricted to temples and shrines where they are treated as sacred. Some of these trees are believed to be aged over 800 years.

The elm cultivar Ulmus 'Atropurpurea' [:dark purple] was raised from seed at the Späth nursery in Berlin, Germany, circa 1881, as Ulmus montana atropurpurea, and was marketed there till the 1930s, being later classed as a cultivar by Boom. Henry (1913) included it under Ulmus montana cultivars but noted that it was "very similar to and perhaps identical with" Ulmus purpureaHort. At Kew it was renamed U. glabraHuds. 'Atropurpurea', but Späth used U. montana both for wych elm and for some U. × hollandica hybrids, so his name does not necessarily imply a wych elm cultivar. The Hesse Nursery of Weener, Germany, however, which marketed 'Atropurpurea' in the 1950s, listed it in later years as a form of U. glabraHuds..

<i>Ulmus parvifolia</i> species of plant

Ulmus parvifolia, commonly known as the Chinese elm or lacebark elm, is a species native to eastern Asia, including China, Taiwan, Japan, North Korea, and Vietnam. It has been described as "one of the most splendid elms, having the poise of a graceful Nothofagus".

William Dallimore was an English botanist who published a “Handbook of Coniferae” and who played an important role in the start and development of Bedgebury Pinetum.

Kew Gardens worlds largest collection of living plants in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames

Kew Gardens is a botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world". Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park in Middlesex, England, its living collections includes some of the 27,000 taxa curated by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, while the herbarium, which is one of the largest in the world, has over 8.5 million preserved plant and fungal specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants. It is one of London's top tourist attractions and is a World Heritage Site.

The Plant List was a list of botanical names of species of plants created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Missouri Botanical Garden and launched in 2010. It was intended to be a comprehensive record of all known names of plant species over time, and was produced in response to Target 1 of the 2002-2010 Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, to produce "An online flora of all known plants.” It has not been updated since 2013, and is superseded by World Flora Online.

The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families is an "international collaborative programme that provides the latest peer reviewed and published opinions on the accepted scientific names and synonyms of selected plant families." Maintained by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, it is available online, allowing searches for the names of families, genera and species, as well as the ability to create checklists.


  1. 1 2 "Annual report and accounts 2016–17" (PDF). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 10 July 2017. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  2. "How we work". Millennium Seed Bank. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  3. England, Forestry Commission. "History of Bedgebury National Pinetum". Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. "Background". Yorkshire Arboretum. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  5. "ALVA – Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". Retrieved 25 April 2019.
  6. Guinness World Records 2011. Guinness World Records. 2010. pp.  69. ISBN   978 1 904994 57 2.
  7. "Living Collections at Kew".
  8. "Science collections at Kew".
  9. "Board of Trustees". Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  11. "People". London: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
  12. Hooker, Joseph Dalton, 1893 Preface. In Index Kewensis: an enumeration of the genera and species of flowering plants from the time of Linnaeus to the year 1885 inclusive (ed. B D Jackson). Oxford: Clarendon
  13. Bates, Claire (5 January 2011). "Botanical A–Z via Kew: British experts complete database of every plant name on the planet – all 1.25million of them". Daily Mail . London. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  14. "The Plant List".