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Plant Taxonomy

Course CodeBHT344
Fee CodeS4
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn about plant taxonomy

  • Understand the conventions of naming and classifying to enable you to understand more about plants.
  • Understand about distinguishing features and characteristics of plants.
  • Learn about the relationship between different plants.
  • Learn how to differentiate between different plant families.
  • Taxonomy represents a valuable tool that horticulturists can apply in pursuit of their business.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  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
    • Crassulaceae
    • Lamiaceae
    • Euphorbiaceae
    • Gesneriaceae
    • Ranunculaceae
  10. Dicotyledons (Part 2)
    • Fabaceae - Papilionoideae, Mimosoideae, Caesalpinoideae
    • Fagaceae
    • Ericaceae
    • Malvaceae
    • Myrtaceae
    • Ongaraceae
    • Rosaceae
    • Proteaceae
    • Rutaceae
    • Rubiaceae

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Explain how plants are classified, including both benefits of and contradictions within the scientific system as followed by horticulturists and botanical scientists across different parts of the world.
  • Examine and describe parts of a plant, both sexual and asexual, at various stages of the plant’s life cycle.
  • Process descriptive information about a plant using taxonomic techniques that involve processing that data to create a better understanding and/or record of that information.
  • Explain a variety of tools used in taxonomic work.
  • Explain the taxonomy of land plants that do not produce seeds.
  • Explain taxonomy of a range of significant, seed producing plants, including gymnosperms.
  • Explain the relationship between different types of plants (i.e. phylogeny), and how molecular information impacts on this in taxonomic considerations.
  • Differentiate between at least 10 different families of monocotyledon plants, through inspection and identification of a range of commonly shared characteristics within that family.
  • Differentiate between at least 10 different families of dicotyledon plants which predominantly contain lower growing soft wooded plants or herbs; through inspection and identification of a range of commonly shared characteristics within that family.
  • Differentiate between at least 10 different families of dicotyledon plants which predominantly contain woody trees and shrubs; through inspection and identification of a range of commonly shared characteristics within that family.

Knowing how to identify plants is important to any horticulturist or botanist.

  • Study Plant Taxonomy to understand more about plants and how to classify them.
  • Use you knowledge in developing your career and professional profile.
  • The course requires approximately 100 hours of study, with a variety of self-assessments, and assignments to help and supplement your learning.
  • Your tutor is there to support you in your studies - to offer guidance and to answer your questions as you progress through the course.
  • The course is available for you to start at any time, and you can enrol today.


Meet some of our academics

Rosemary Davies Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (clocking up over 24 years as a presenter of garden talkback programs, initially the only woman presenter on gardening in Victoria) and she simultaneously developed a career as a writer. She then studied Education and Training, teaching TAFE apprentices and developing curriculum for TAFE, before taking up an offer as a full time columnist with the Herald and Weekly Times and its magazine department after a number of years as columnist with the Age. She has worked for a number of companies in writing and publications, PR community education and management and has led several tours to Europe. In 1999 Rosemary was BPW Bendigo Business Woman of the Year and is one of the founders and the Patron, of the Friends of the Bendigo Botanic gardens. She has completed her 6th book this year and is working on concepts for several others. Rosemary has a B Ed, BSc Hort, Dip Advertising & Marketing
John Mason Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 70 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Yvonne SharpeRHS Cert.Hort, Dip.Hort, M.Hort, Cert.Ed., Dip.Mgt. Over 30 years experience in business, education, management and horticulture. Former department head at a UK government vocational college. Yvonne has traveled widely within and beyond Europe, and has worked in many areas of horticulture from garden centres to horticultural therapy. She has served on industry committees and been actively involved with amateur garden clubs for decades.
Timothy WalkerB.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., P.G.Dip.Ed.


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