The Society organises two or three conferences each year in the United Kingdom and Continental Europe.
The Society originated as the Plant Phenolics Group which was inaugurated in Cambridge, U.K. in 1957 as an informal group of chemists and biologists interested in the phenolic constituents of plants. As the interest of members widened, many wished to include their own fields within the activities of the group and it was resolved at the 7th Annual General Meeting of the Plant Phenolics Group at Leeds in 1964 to become the Phytochemical Group. As a result continued expansion of the membership the Group became the Phytochemical Society at the Annual General Meeting at Imperial College, London on the 11th April 1967. In recognition of the growing membership of Continental Europe the Society adopted its present name at an Extraordinary General Meeting in London on 6th January 1977 and as such held its first regular meeting in Continental Europe in Ghent in September of that year.
The business of the Society is conducted by the Officers and Committee Members who meet at least twice a year. All Society Members may submit suggestions at any time for symposium topics or for extending the activities of the Society. The academic programme and domestic arrangements for the individual symposia are the responsibility of local organisers who undertake this task at the invitation of the committee. PSE members are alerted to the details of each conference well in advance, and pay a much smaller registration fee than non members; the saving usually amounts to considerably more than the membership fee. Student members can apply for bursaries to attend PSE conferences; the bursary typically covers the registration fee.
The Society also gives out awards to scientists in appreciation of contributions to the discipline of phytochemistry.