The Sampled Red List IN PICTURES


The ground-breaking report - the Sampled Red List Index for Plants - created in partnership between Kew, the Natural History Museum and IUCN was released this week. The report's finding suggests 20 per cent of all known plant species are under threat.

low plant with thick leaves growing in a barren desert

Welwitschia mirabilis is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN. Individuals of this species are probably some of the longest-lived organisms on the planet - with some estimated at over 1,000 years old. Although it has very low recruitment rates this is countered by its extreme longevity. © Andrew McRobb, RBG Kew

big leaved plant with small red flowers

Nesiota elliptica from the remote Atlantic Ocean island of St Helena is probably extinct. Also called the St Helena olive the last wild specimen died in 1994, and the sole surviving cultivated plant died in 2003. Being the sole member of its genus it is an example of both a species and genus becoming extinct. © Rebecce Cirns-Wicks

snowdrop with delicate white dropping flowers

Instantly recognisable as a snowdrop Galanthus nivalis is listed as Near Threatened by IUCN, meaning it might become threatened with extinction in the near future. A classic plant of European woodlands it is threatened by habitat disruption and wild collection and trade. © Andrew McRobb, RBG Kew

small shooting sprout of a banana plant

This extraordinary photo of an Ethiopian banana (Ensete ventricosum) germinating highlights one of the many plants whose conservation status remains unassessed by IUCN. However, this important food species is being monitored as part of the Sampled Red List Index Project to monitor trends in extinction risk. © Forest & Kim Starr

an old dried herbarium specimen of plant mounted on a piece of paper

Kew's ancient herbarium proved vital for the research team. This specimen of Caliphruria tenera (Amazon lily) was collected over 150 years ago from Colombia and represents one of only two known collections for the plant. Despite being listed officially as Critically Endangered by IUCN it's likely this species is, in fact, extinct. © RBG Kew

a rare grass plant displayed in a piece of paper

Agrostis trachychlaena is a rather unassuming type of bentgrass found on only two remote islands in the South Atlantic where its wild population is put at less than 250. Living on such remote locations it's puzzling for some scientists to understand why it's so rare, but a combination of human activity and erosion may have reduced its habitat significantly. A. trachychlaena is listed as Endangered by IUCN. © Niek Gremmen

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Global: Important study of world’s plants shows strength of UK science


small green plantA new study released yesterday at Kew Gardens shows that one fifth of the world’s plants are under threat of extinction. This huge body of work was released to coincide with The International Year of Biodiversity and the forthcoming United Nations Biodiversity Summit in Nagoya, Japan.