Plant Identification Course

Plant Identification Course (Distance Learning)

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The Course

  • The course consists of around 20 units delivered at your own pace
  • The course starts in March or April and finishes in October following the flowering season
  • Each unit concludes with a short question sheet, requiring you to find and examine wild plants
  • You have your own tutor, who will correct your answers and give advice
  • There are no grades or numerical marks
  • The course can be completed at your own pace but most students will complete it within one year.
  • You will need to undertake independent study and go out in the field to find wild plants, but only common ones.

Course Structure

This course is accessible for absolute beginners and is ideal for those who would like to improve their plant identification skills. The course teaches participants how to identify plants systematically based on family characteristics and not just by simple recognition. This helps participants build up their confidence in their plant identification skills.

As part of the course you will improve your identification and observational skills, become conversant with botanical terminology, become confident in using floras and botanical keys, learn the key diagnostic features of our commonest plant families and develop an approach which will help you to identify plants accurately.

There are 20 units, which will be made available as the season progresses from March/April to September/October.

  1. Botanical Nomenclature and Names
  2. Terminology
  3. The Use of Keys and Preparing Voucher Specimens
  4. Trees in the Spring and Summer Months
  5. The Cabbage Family – Brassicaceae
  6. The Violet Family – Violaceae
  7. The Buttercup Family – Ranunculaceae
  8. The Lily Family – Liliaceae
  9. The Campion Family – Caryophyllaceae
  10. The Carrot Family – Apiaceae
  11. The Pea Family – Fabaceae
  12. The Rose Family – Rosaceae
  13. The Deadnettle Family – Lamiaceae
  14. The Figwort Family – Scrophulariaceae
  15. The Willowherb Family – Onagraceae
  16. The Geranium Family – Geraniaceae
  17. The Grass Family – Poaceas
  18. The Daisy Family – Asteraceae
  19. The Orchid Family – Orchidaceae
  20. Ferns
  21. Winter Trees

The first few units provide a foundation of basic theory. Then the most important families are studied, in the order of their peak flowering times. We begin looking at trees, then the Brassicaceae, Ranunculaceae and Liliaceae as these have many spring-flowering members. The last module is winter trees at the end of the survey season. Each unit is accompanied by a video and a question sheet with answers marked and feedback given for each module.

The modules are designed to encourage you to find and examine wild plant species. The courses focuses on common species that are common throughout Britain and Ireland.

You will have a tutor who is an experienced botanist familiar who will answer your work and provide feedback and support to assist you on your botanical journey.

The course is not accredited, but students who complete all units are awarded a Certificate of Completion.

How Much Study Time is Required

It is aticipated that you would dedicate around two and a half hours a week throughout the course.

The most time-consuming part of the course is finding the plants. The plants selected for study are mostly common and there is a range of species involved so that the characteristics of plant families can be inspected.

Fees And Equipment

The cost of the course is £250 inclusive of VAT.

You need a copy of either a copy of The Wild Flower Key, Francis Rose, revised and updated by Clare O’Reilly, 2006 or the Collins Wild Flower Guide by David Streeter. A x10 or 20 hand lens is also essential.

The course is delivered on-line and so basic IT skills are essential.

For further information or a booking form contact us on 02920 650 331 or