Current knowledge, status and future for plant and fungal diversity in Great Britain and the UK Overseas Territories

Colin Clubbe, A. Martyn Ainsworth, Sara Bárrios, Keith Bensusan, Juliet Brodie, Paul Cannon, Ted Chapman, Alison I. Copeland, Marcella Corcoran, Michele Dani Sanchez, John C. David, Trevor Dines, Lauren M. Gardiner, Martin A Hamilton, Thomas Heller, Pete M. Hollingsworth, Nicola Hutchinson, Theo Llewelyn, Laura Lowe Forrest, Kevin J. McGinnStephanie Miles, Katherine O'Donnell, Nancy Woodfield Pascoe, Tim C. G. Rich, Fred Rumsey, Jolene Sim, Struan R. Smith, Nicola Spence, Andrew Stanworth, Peter Stroh, Ian Taylor, Clare Trivedi, Alexander D Twyford, Juan Viruel, Kevin Walker, Jo Wilbraham, Julian Woodman, Michael F. Fay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This review summarizes current knowledge of the status and threats to the plants and fungi of Great Britain and the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs). Although the body of knowledge is considerable, the distribution of information varies substantially, and we highlight knowledge gaps. The UK vascular flora is the most well studied and we have a relatively clear picture of its 9,001 native and alien taxa. We have seedbanked 72% of the native and archaeophyte angiosperm taxa and 78% of threatened taxa. Knowledge of the UKOTs flora varies across territories and we report a UKOTs flora comprising 4,093 native and alien taxa. We have conserved 56% of the native flora and 51% of the threatened vascular plants in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, UK. We need a better understanding of the conservation status of plants in the wild, and progress toward completion or updating national red lists varies. Site‐based protection of key plant assemblages is outlined, and progress in identifying Important Plant Areas analyzed. Knowledge of the non‐vascular flora, especially seaweeds remains patchy, particularly in many UKOTs. The biggest gaps overall are in fungi, particularly non‐lichenized fungi. Considerable investment is needed to fill these knowledge gaps and instigate effective conservation strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlants, People, Planet
Issue number5
Early online date29 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Sep 2020


  • Important Fungal Areas (IFAs)
  • Important Plant areas (IPAs)
  • red listing
  • seed banking
  • Tropical Important Plant Areas (TIPAs)
  • UK
  • UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs)


Dive into the research topics of 'Current knowledge, status and future for plant and fungal diversity in Great Britain and the UK Overseas Territories'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this