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Course Description

A backyard garden with a stone path running through it.

 Advanced Plant ID is a hands-on, in depth study of plants in the landscape.  Sections on leaf characteristics, floristics, winter twigs, ferns, ornamental grasses and weeds are included.  Expanding on the introductory course, this course discusses leaf tips, bases and margins; floral formulae and floral diagrams. A more concentrated study of botanical keys is made giving students the opportunity to create a formal key. Complex plants, including ferns, grasses and leafless twigs are discussed with a focus on key species in each group. Throughout the course, students will collect specimens, create a herbarium collection, and carry out physical assays and plant assessments along with many optional activities designed to support the course material. 

Designed For

This course is designed for everyone; home gardeners, landscape professionals, Master Gardeners and anyone else who wants a deeper understanding of plant taxonomy, systematics and identification. 

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to: 

  1. Draw upon all of the information you learned in the Introduction to Plant Identification course to recognize characteristics used for advanced plant identification;
  2. Describe and apply more complex tools such as floral formulae and diagrams, botanical keys, and herbarium techniques;
  3. Prepare and preserve standard herbarium specimens and use them as a tool for plant identification;
  4. Describe the morphologic characteristics of winter twigs of woody plants and explain their location and function; distinguish winter twigs of woody plant genera using site recognition and dichotomous keys; and
  5. Describe the structures, reproduction, and life cycles of ferns and fern allies, grasses, and weeds and use this knowledge to identify unknown species.

Course Topics

  • Review the basic principles of plant identification techniques
  • Herbarium Techniques
  • Twigs: The Angiosperms and the Gymnosperms
  • Ferns and Fern Allies
  • Grasses
  • Weeds

Additional Requirements

Pre-requisite(s): Completion of the Horticulturist Certificate.


Assessment Item Weight
Assignment 1: Twig Development 10%
Assignment 2: Dichotomous Key 10%
Assignment 3: Herbarium Specimen 20%
Assignment 4: Square Meter 10%
Graded Discussion 5%
Quizzes (5 x 9%) 45%
Total 100%

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

*Course details are subject to change.


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