Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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United Kingdom - Surrey - Richmond

Institution Code: K

International Agenda Registration: Yes

BGCI Member: Yes

The water lily house at Kew.
The water lily house at Kew.

About the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The mission of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is to enable better management of the Earth's environment by increasing knowledge and understanding of the plant and fungal kingdoms - the basis of life on earth.

Kew is a world-leading public organisation governed by Trustees and sponsored by Defra: our funding comes mainly from Defra, visitor income and fundraising from individuals and organisations.

Over 1,200 people work at Kew including 700 staff (200 in science and 200 in horticulture), 75 affiliated researchers, 100 students and 350 volunteers

RBG Kew includes two outstanding gardens – Kew Gardens, a World Heritage Site six miles west of London, and Wakehurst Place on the High Weald in West Sussex. These attractions are home to Kew’s collections, laboratories, library and the Millennium Seed Bank.

RBG Kew is devoted to increasing knowledge and understanding, so that the diversity of plants and fungi can be conserved for future generations and used in sustainable ways for human benefit.

Herbarium specimens of 7,000,000 include 250,000 types, 200,000 specimens of cultivated plants and 80,000 artefacts of plant and fungal origin.

Taxa 28,689 includes 4,141 genera, 11,557 spp, 57,049 accessions and 108,663 living plants.

When the totals held at Kew's satellite garden, at Wakehurst Place, are added, the totals rise to the following: Genera - 4,875, Species - 13,808, Taxa - 33,748, Accessions - 72,254 and Plants - 148,008.

Main Address:
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Surrey TW9 3AB United Kingdom

Telephone: 0208 332 5000
Fax: 0208 332 5197
Primary Email:

Staff Details

  • Director's Name: Richard Deverell, Director
    Curator's Name: Tony Kirkham, Head of Arboretum, Gardens and Horticultural Services
    Plant Records Officer's Name:
  • Total Staff:
    Horticultural Staff Number: 200
    Educational Staff Number:
    Research Staff Number: 200
    Administration Staff Number:

About the Garden

  • Institution Type: Botanic Garden
  • Status
  • Status: State: Yes
    Status: Satellite: Yes
    Status: Trust: Yes
  • Date founded: 1759
  • Physical Data
  • Total Area: 130 Hectares
    Latitude: 51.478845
    Longitude: -0.296843
    Annual Rainfall: 659 mm
    Altitude: 0.00 Metres
    Total area of glasshouses: 3000 Metres
  • Additional Locations
  • Satellite Garden Names: Wakehurst Place Millenium Seed Bank

Features and Facilities

  • Herbarium: Yes
    Herbarium: Number of Specimens: 7000000
    Arboretum: Yes
  • Micropropagation/ Tissue Culture Facilities: Yes
    Seed Bank: Yes
    Published Plant Catalogue: Yes
    Computer Plant Record System: Yes
  • Open to public: Yes
    Friends society: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Shop: Yes
    Retail Outlet: Plant Sales: Yes
    Disabled access: Yes
  • Number of Visitors: 1000000
    Number of Volunteers: 485

Plant Collections

  • Accession Number: 108663
    Cultivation Taxa Num: 20000
  • Special Collections:Alliaceae, Aloaceae, Amaryllidaceae, Araceae, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Compositae, Cycadaceae, Ericaceae, Gramineae, Iridaceae, Labiatae, Leguminosae, Liliaceae, Oleaceae, Orchidaceae, Palmae, Pinaceae, Saxifragaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Ranunculaceae, Rosaceae, Filices. Extensive collections of herbaceous, alpine, insectivorous, economic and succulent plants from most parts of the world.
  • Invasive Species Monitoring: Yes

Conservation Programmes

  • Conservation Programme: Yes
    Ex Situ Conservation Programme: Yes
    Reintroduction Programme: Yes

Research Programmes

  • Biotechnology: Yes
    Conservation - Genetics: Yes
    Data Management Systems and Information Technology: Yes
    Ecology: Yes
    Education: Yes
    Ethnobotany: Yes
    Exploration: Yes
    Horticulture: Yes
    Molecular Genetics: Yes
    Restoration Ecology: Yes
    Land Restoration: Yes

Education Programmes

  • Visitor/Education Centre: Yes
    Education Signs in Garden: Yes
    Public Lectures/Talks: Yes
    Guided Tours: Yes
    Permanent Public Displays: Yes
    Special Exhibitions: Yes
    Courses for General Public: Yes
    Education Programme: Yes

Huarango Woodland Restoration Project

The ancient Nasca people drove themselves to near-extinction by replacing woodlands of the huarango tree (Prosopis pallida) with intensive farming practices.  Without huarango trees to release moisture to the atmosphere, the local climate became progressively drought-prone, thus dooming the agriculture in this very arid part of southern Peru.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is working with local people, government and industry to re-establish hyperarid woodlands in southern Peru. For more than five years, school children and their parents have learned about the importance of the native huarango tree to their own economic well-being, and have become major partners in re-establishing the woodlands and conserving remnant stands of native vegetation.

They have propagated tens of thousands of native trees, shrubs and herbs and the new woodland is over one kilometre long.

Deforestation of huarango woodland