Plant Taxonomy (i.e. the scientific identification of
plants) has been increasingly sidelined and neglected in horticulture,
agriculture, botany and science courses.
This is really something that EVERYONE who works with plants should study.
It covers things colleagues have complained about being neglected in
most horticulture and agriculture courses for decades. These are things
that used to be in most certificates, diplomas and degrees but no
longer. This is knowledge that could be lost to the industry if younger
generations don't make an effort to learn it.
Knowing what we teach here will help you make a lot more sense of plant names.
This short course is a great way to become proficient in understanding the essentials in plant taxonomy.
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 taxonomic knowledge though; you risk
misidentifying 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 covers 4 lessons:
Lesson 1 INTRODUCTION - The Why and How of Plant Names
Why Name Plants?
Scientific vs. Vernacular Names
Ranks and Language
Ranks of Classification - KPCOFGS
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
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”
Botanical Characteristics of Dianthus
A Key to the Main Types of Fruits
Lesson 3 IDENTIFICATION TOOLS
Collecting and Preserving a Plant
The Problem of Colour
The Law Relating to Plant Collecting
Describing a Plant on Paper
The Equipment You Need
Making a Key
Using a Key
When all this fails, what do you do?
Lesson 4 PLANT FAMILIES - The Family Life of Plants
What Genera are in What Family?
Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)
Asteraceae (= Compositae)
Brassicaceae (= Crucifereae)
Fabaceae (= Leguminosae or Papillionaceae)
Lamiaceae (= Labiatae)
Poaceae (= Graminae)
Other Significant Plant Phyla
At the end of each lesson, you will
given a short interactive test to undertake, which will provide an
indication of how your learning is progressing. Upon completing the
very last lesson, you will be offered a more thorough automated test or
examination. If you achieve an overall pass; in this final assessment,
you will be able to obtain a "Certificate of Completion", which will
have your name on it.