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Plant Taxonomy

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This short course is a great way to become proficient in understanding plant names and classification

Course Code: SGH9

Course Duration: 20 hours (minimum, self paced study, commonly 2 to 8 weeks, less or longer as you need)

To the ill-informed, it is a low priority for gardeners, environmentalists or farmers to identify obscure parts of a plant, or to place plants into a high-level scientific classification such as a family or class. However, for anyone who understands these industries well it can be critical to have that knowledge.  Taxonomy trains people to observe the finer details that separate one plant 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, you risk mis-identifying plants. That can mean growing a less productive species, accidentally growing plants that are environmental weeds, or perhaps even growing a plant with high levels of toxins and being unaware you are doing so. 

From an environmental perspective, taxonomic knowledge can help individuals to identify invasive species as well as native and endangered species and use that knowledge to make informed plans for land management.

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
  • History, John Ray, Linnaeus
  • 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”
  • Habit
  • Stems
  • Hairs
  • Flowers
  • Botanical Characteristics of Dianthus
  • Fruits
  • Indehiscent
  • Schizocarpic
  • Dehiscent
  • A Key to the Main Types of Fruits
  • Roots


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

Lesson 4 PLANT FAMILIES - The Family Life of Plants

  • What Genera are in What Family?
  • Monocotyledons
  • Dicotyledons
  • Major Families
  • Anthophyta
  • Apiaceae (= Umbelliferae)
  • Araceae
  • Asteraceae (= Compositae)
  • Brassicaceae (= Crucifereae)
  • Bromeliaceae
  • Cucurbitaceae
  • Fabaceae (= Leguminosae or Papillionaceae)
  • Gesneriaceae
  • Lamiaceae (= Labiatae)
  • Liliaceae
  • Myrtaceae
  • Orchidaceae
  • Poaceae (= Graminae)
  • Other Significant Plant Phyla
  • Coniferophyta
  • Monilophyta


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.


Who This Course Is For

Professional horticulturists, permaculture practitioners, horticulture consultants, nursery plant growers, landscapers, and gardeners who wish to expand their ability to identify and classify plants.
Environmentalists, land managers, rangers, parks and reserve staff, and people interested in sustainability who want to broaden their understanding of plant naming systems and manage land effectively.     
Home gardeners and plant enthusiasts who are fascinated with getting to know different plants. 


Thinking of Enrolling? Get in Touch

Our friendly staff understand the importance of making the right choices when it comes to studying. 
We want to help you choose the right course whether it is for personal interest, upskilling, professional development, a new career, or a career change. 
Contact us and let us guide you on your learning pathway. 

Email us at admin@acs.edu.au | Call us on (07) 5562 1088 


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Plant Taxonomy Plant Taxonomy
$220.00 In stock