PLANT TAXONOMY

Course CodeBHT344
Fee CodeS3
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to identify plant families and genera based upon their botanical characteristics.

  • Flowers and fruits
  • Foliage, stems and leaves

Exceptionally Important

This is a hugely important course, extremely well written, with a lot of potential because:

  • most colleges & universities in Australia, USA an UK etc have greatly reduced teaching taxonomy
  • industry leaders in horticulture, agriculture and environmental management are screaming how important this knowledge is.
  • identifying plants properly is arguably the single most important skill for nurserymen, gardeners, landscapers or anyone els working with plants.

Why Study this Course?

  • For Professional Development - to update knowledge in a rapidly changing field of study
  • To fill in gaps in learning after completing degrees, diplomas or certificates elsewhere.
  • To be able to identify plants systematically and scientifically – making it easier to learn plant names by having a framework upon which to hang new plants as they are encountered.
  • To develop a more holistic understanding of the diversity of plants

 

 

Lesson Structure

  1. Introduction to Taxonomy
    • Introduction to Plant Taxonomy
    • Scientific Vs. Vernacular Names
    • Linnaeus
    • Binomials
    • Uniformity
    • Protein Analysis
    • Ranks and Language
    • Ranks of Classification - KPCOFGS
    • Plant Phyla
    • Plant Families
    • Genus and Species
    • Latin Names
    • Gardener's Ranks
    • Hybrids
    • Subspecies
    • Varieties
    • Cultivars
    • International Code of Botanical Nomenclature
    • The Basic Ideas
    • 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
    • Trademarks & Patents
    • Plant Breeders Rights
    • The Rise of Molecular Data
    • The Impact of Molecular Data
  2. Describing Plant Parts
    • Habit
    • Stems
    • Hairs
    • Leaves
    • Compound and Simple Leaves
    • Leaf Shapes
    • Leaf Margins
    • Leaf Structure
    • Leaf Arrangements
    • Leaf Venation
    • Leaf Modifications
    • Roots
    • Root Modifications
    • Terminology
    • Flowers
    • The Inflorescence
    • Fruits
    • Dry Fruits
    • Fleshy Fruits
    • Compound Fruits
    • A Key to the Main Types of Fruits
    • Terminology
  3. Recording & Analysing Plant Descriptions
    • Herbaria - Collecting and Preserving a Plant
    • Fresh Material
    • Arranging Plants for Pressing
    • Pressing Difficult Specimens
    • The Drying Process
    • Herbarium Specimens
    • Photographs
    • The Problem of Colour
    • The Law Relating to Plant Collecting
    • Describing a Plant on Paper
    • The Equipment You Need
    • Botanical illustration
    • Floral Diagrams
    • Floral Diagram Technique
    • Floral Formulae
    • DNA Barcoding
    • Process of Using DNA Barcoding for Plant Identification
    • Applications of DNA Barcoding
    • CHEMICAL ANALYSIS (Chemotaxonomy)
  4. Taxonomic Techniques
    • The advantages of using keys and their limitations
    • Using a key
    • The rules when making a key
    • Lamiaceae (Simplified Key)
    • Rules When Writing Couplets
    • Best Practice Points
    • Making a key
    • Why botanical families are so useful when identifying plants
  5. Primitive Plants
    • The Bryophytes
    • Mosses
    • Liverworts
    • Hornworts
    • VASCULAR PLANTS or tracheophytes
    • Vascular Tissue and Why it is Important in Evolution of Life on Earth
    • A glossary to help you
    • The Lycopodiopsida (or Lycophytes)
    • Clubmosses - Plants in the family Lycopodiaceae
    • Quillworts - Plants in the Family Isoetaceae
    • Spike Mosses or Lesser Clubmosses – Plants in the Family Selaginellaceae
    • the euphyllophytes – the seed plants, horsetails, and ferns
    • The Seed Plants
    • Horsetails
    • The Ferns
  6. Seed Plants
    • The gymnosperms
    • The cycads – 1 order, 3 families, 10 genera, 285 species
    • Ginkgo - 1 order, 1 families, 1 genus, 1 species
    • The Gnetidae - 3 orders, 3 families, 3 genera, 71 species
    • Welwitschiaceae - 1 Genus, 1 Species
    • Gnetaceae - 1 Genus, 30 Species
    • The conifers - 3 orders, 6 families, 69 genera, 591 species
    • The Conifers’ Life History
    • The Cycads, Ginkgo, and Gnetidae — How they Differ from the Conifers
    • The Six Families of Conifers
    • The Angiosperms
    • Flowers and Why they are Important in Evolution of Life on Earth
    • The Flowering Plant’s Life History
    • The Diversity of Angiosperms
  7. Phylogeny of Land Plants
    • Introduction
    • Darwin’s Tree of Life Metaphor - The Hidden Bond of Descent
    • Why Use DNA Sequences for Classification?
    • The Principle of Monophyly
    • The Phylogeny of Land Plants
    • The major changes in flowering plant taxonomy
    • The End of the Monocot-Dicot Split
    • Finally, Some Resolution Within the Monocots
    • Some Surprises
    • Name Changes Resulting from the Increase in Evidence
    • When Applying the Principle of Monophyly Results in Name Changes
    • What we can learn from phylogenies
  8. Monocotyledons
    • Summary of Important Families
    • The Monocots — SIGNIFICANT FAMILIES
    • Arecaceae
    • Aizoaceae (syn. Ficoidaceae)
    • Dioscoraceae
    • Liliaceae
    • Orchidaceae
    • Iridaceae
    • Amaryllidaceae
    • Asparagaceae
    • Arecaceae
    • Pontederiaceae
    • Musaceae
    • Bromeliaceae
    • Poaceae
    • Cyperaceae
    • Juncaceae
  9. Dicotyledons (Part I)
    • IMPORTANT DICOT FAMILIES
    • Key to Selected Angiosperm Families
    • Lower-growing Soft-wooded Plants
    • Apiaceae
    • Asteraceae
    • Brasicaceae
    • Cactaceae
    • Crassulaceae
    • Euphorbiaceae
    • Gesneriaceae
    • Lamiaceae
    • Ranunculaceae
    • Solanaceae
  10. Dicotyledons (Part 2)
    • Fabaceae - Papilionoideae, Mimosoideae, Caesalpinoideae
    • Fagaceae
    • Ericaceae
    • Magnoliaceae
    • Malvaceae
    • Myrtaceae
    • Ongaraceae
    • Rosaceae
    • Proteaceae
    • Rutaceae
    • Rubiaceae

This course was developed by John Mason (50 years experience in horticulture) and Timothy Walker (former director of Oxford Botanic Gardens with assistance from half a dozen other university trained and extensively experienced horticulturists. It was then reviewed and improved further with input from botanists and horticulturists from outside of our school. 

  • It is more challenging than some of our courses, but in being so, potentially more rewarding.
  • The beauty of studying this with ACS Distance Education is that it is self paced; and you have a strong level of academic support where needed.
  • If you take longer than the intended 100 hrs to complete the course - that's OK by us
  • If you become stumped by technical information; we have botanists and horticulturist on staff, working every day, who can assist over email, phone, chat or if need be teleconferencing.

Plant taxonomy has changed and continues to change as we learn more about plants. Traditionally, plants are classified according to visible differences in appearance (eg. shapes, colour, scent); but with modern science, we can now identify genetic differences as well. Sometimes the genetic and visible differences don't match up. This may mean a taxonomist is forced to make an imperfect decision. This course helps you better appreciate such decisions, and understand the consistencies -and also conflicts - which occur in the scientific classification of plants.

ENROL Today and become a stand out plantsman/woman

 

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