The organisation manages botanic gardens at Kew in Richmond upon Thames in southwest London, and at Wakehurst Place, a National Trust property in Sussex which is home to an internationally important Millennium Seed Bank, whose scientists work with partner organisations in more than 95 countries. Seed stored at the bank fulfils two functions: it provides an ex-situ conservation resource and also facilitates research around the globe by acting as a repository for seed scientists. Kew, jointly with the Forestry Commission, founded Bedgebury National Pinetum in Kent, specialising in growing conifers.
The organisation has an average of 1 million paying visitors per year. Its 326-acre site at Kew has 40 historically important buildings and collections of over 40,000 species of plants and it became a United Nations World Heritage Site on 3 July 2003.
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 2018 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".