Category: England, Kew.

Kew Gardens: A museum of past and present ecology

Posted by Graham_Land in Conservation, Wildlife & Flora, 15 Sep 2010.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – commonly referred to as Kew Gardens – is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the southwest of London, England. Created in 1759, the gardens celebrated their 250th anniversary last year.

Kew is home to both the largest collection of live plants in the world and the world’s largest herbarium.

A herbarium is a catalogued collection of dried plants. The herbarium at Kew Gardens is both a museum and a research facility, providing a wealth of information on plants as well as precious insights about how ecosystems survive, adapt or die out.

The Herbarium might be run by “keepers”, but it is an active research centre: every year many of its 180 scientists travel the world, returning with 30,000 to 50,000 new samples. They are mapping new or lost discoveries (last year more than 250 of 2,000 newly “discovered” plants were found by Kew staff) and examining how ecosystems are coping in the face of human exploitation and climate change.

–The Observer

For a quick tour through the history and present state of Kew from medicine to ornamental plants to ecology and conservation, check out the following article by Juliette Jowit in last Sunday’s Observer:

Kew Gardens: ‘Plants are not just beautiful. They help us to survive’

If you don’t find yourself in London you can always visit the Kew Gardens website to find out what’s going on at the UK’s 250 year old Royal Botanic Gardens.

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Category: England, Kew
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