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Plant Taxonomy- Short Course

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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 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
John Ray
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”
Botanical Characteristics of Dianthus
A Key to the Main Types of Fruits


Using Resources
Collecting and Preserving a Plant
Fresh Material
Herbarium Specimens
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
Making a Key
Using a Key
When all this fails, what do you do?
Botanic Gardens

Lesson 4 PLANT FAMILIES - The Family Life of Plants

What Genera are in What Family?
Major Families
Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)
Asteraceae (= Compositae)
Brassicaceae (= Crucifereae)
Fabaceae (= Leguminosae or Papillionaceae)
Lamiaceae (= Labiatae)
Poaceae (= Graminae)
Other Significant Plant Phyla


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