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Plant Taxonomy- Short Course

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Learn Plant Taxonomy and Identify Plants More Accurately.

To the ill informed, it is a low priority for gardeners, environmentalists or farmers to identify obscure parts of a plant; or place plants into a high level scientific classification such as a family or class. For anyone who understands these industries well however, it can be critical to have that knowledge.  Taxonomy trains people to observe the finer details that separate one plant cultivar from another. It provides a framework that makes the process of identifying plants systemic. 

This course will help you to identify what a plant is faster and with greater accuracy than would otherwise be possible.

Leading horticulturists and botanists all over the world are all too aware of a serious decline in taxonomic skills and awareness. 

Anyone who works with plants needs to understand how critical plant taxonomy is.

Without this level of taxanomic knowledge though; you risk mis-identifying plants. That can mean growing a less productive species; or even worse -growing a plant with higher levels of toxins and being unaware you are doing so.

This short course that can be completed in 20 hours and covers 4 lessons: 

Lesson 1 INTRODUCTION - The Why and How of Plant Names

  • Why Name Plants?
  • Scientific Vs. Vernacular Names
  • History
  • John Ray
  • Linnaeus
  • Ranks and Language
  • Ranks of Classification - KPCOFGS
  • Latin Names
  • Gardener’s Ranks
  • International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
  • The Basic Ideas
    a) Valid publication
    b) The type method
    c) Aim of the principle of priority
    d) Exceptions to the principle of priority
  • Legitimate Naming
  • Recent Changes to the Code
  • International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants
  • Taxonomic Name Resolution Service
  • International Plant Names Index
  • The Rise of Molecular Data
  • The Impact of Molecular Data

Lesson 2 NAMING THE BITS - Plant Anatomy

  • Describing a Plant for the First Time, or “Naming the Bits”
  • Habit
  • Stems
  • Hairs
  • Flowers
  • Botanical Characteristics of Dianthus
  • Fruits
  • Indehiscent
  • Schizocarpic
  • Dehiscent
  • A Key to the Main Types of Fruits
  • Roots


  • Using Resources
  • Collecting and Preserving a Plant
  • Fresh Material
  • Herbarium Specimens
  • Photographs
  • The Problem of Colour
  • The Law Relating to Plant Collecting
  • Describing a Plant on Paper
  • The Equipment You Need
  • DNA Bar-coding
  • Floral Formulae
  • Floral Diagrams
  • Keys
  • Making a Key
  • Using a Key
  • When all this fails, what do you do?
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Nurseries

Lesson 4 PLANT FAMILIES - The Family Life of Plants

  • What Genera are in What Family?
  • Monocotyledons
  • Dicotyledons
  • Major Families
  • Anthophyta
  • Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)
  • Araceae
  • Asteraceae (= Compositae)
  • Brassicaceae (= Crucifereae)
  • Bromeliaceae
  • Cucurbitaceae
  • Fabaceae (= Leguminosae or Papillionaceae)
  • Gesneriaceae
  • Lamiaceae (= Labiatae)
  • Liliaceae
  • Myrtaceae
  • Orchidaceae
  • Poaceae (= Graminae)
  • Other Significant Plant Phyla
  • Coniferophyta
  • Monilophyta


How does this course work? 

You can enrol at any time.
Once you have paid for the course, you will be able to start straight away.
Study when and where you like. Work through at your own pace.

You can download your study-guide to your smart phone, tablet or laptop to read offline.

There are automated self-assessment tests you can complete at the end of each lesson. You can attempt these as many times as you wish and each time, upon completion, you can see your results. You will need internet access to complete the self assessment tests.

At the end of the course, you are presented with a large assessment which can be attempted online, anywhere, anytime. If you achieve a 60% pass in the exam; you immediately receive a downloadable certificate of completion with your name on it.

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Plant Taxonomy- Short Course Plant Taxonomy- Short Course
$220.00 In stock