Who uses the collection?
Each year more than 20,000 scientists pay working visits to the various collections at Kew. Of these 9,000 come to work in the Herbarium alone. A high percentage of these visitors are systematic botanists (taxonomists) from all countries who need to consult the collections at Kew, particularly the type specimens, in order to complete their studies. As these botanists work with the collection so they will corroborate or change the identification of the specimens examined and further enhance the value of the collection by adding supplementary notes and observations on the specimens for future researchers. Kew also loans material to systematists working in other herbaria participating in a collaborative network.
Many other professional biologists use the collection including conservation biologists, ecologists, entomologists and phytochemists. Those from other disciplines such as historians, artists and archivists are also regular visitors.
The public and other professions depend on indirect use of the collection. Forensic police, pharmaceutical companies, agronomists and horticulturalists are among just a few of the professions that rely on information provided by Kew staff which they in turn obtain by consulting the collection.
Visits to the collection are managed carefully. Please ensure that you have read conditions for visiting the collection before writing to ask to visit.