|Type||Non-departmental public body|
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. Its board of trustees is chaired by Marcus Agius, a former chairman of Barclays.
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. Kew, jointly with the Forestry Commission, founded Bedgebury National Pinetum in Kent in 1923, specialising in growing conifers. In 1994 the Castle Howard Arboretum Trust, which runs the Yorkshire Arboretum, was formed as a partnership between Kew and the Castle Howard Estate.
In 2018 the organisation had 1,858,513 public visitors at Kew, and 354,957 at Wakehurst. Its 326-acre (132 ha) site at Kew has 40 historically important buildings; it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 3 July 2003. The collections at Kew and Wakehurst include over 27,000 taxa of living plants, 8.3 million plant and fungal herbarium specimens, and over 40,000 species in the seed bank.
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:
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".
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. 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.