Plant Identification for Ecologists


Botanical Surveys (Phase 1, UKHab, Hedgerow and NVC) provide the botanist and ecologist with ways of classifying a wide range of vegetation and habitats. Accurate species identification is critical to correctly identifying the appropriate habitats and then using this information to decide on their ecological value. This course aims to develop the professional surveyor’s identification skills, and abilities in using botanical keys.

Have you ever struggled to identify a plant, not sure where to begin? Put off by the thought of using ‘Stace’ or other floras? Then this is the course for you; an introduction to learning how to identify plants using a variety of resources including keys.

Starting with an introduction to the basic botanical structures and terminology, we will then concentrate on the key features for a range of wildflowers. Detailed study will be made of individual species and their particular characteristics and how they fit into their families. During this course you will have the opportunity to practice your plant identification skills using a range of identification resources, particularly Stace’s New Flora (3rd / 4th editions).

By the end of the course you will be familiar with a wide range of botanical terminology and be able to start to place a variety of plants into families. FISC level 1 and above.

Who Should Attend?

Local Authority ecologists, Ecological consultants, Conservation officers and staff within SNCOs and NGO’s, Students, Environmental managers,
Land Managers, Wardens, Rangers.

Knowledge Level

Beginner - Intermediate

Prior Knowledge

No existing knowledge, or experience is essential, but attendees will gain the most from this course if they have some prior understanding of the parts of a plants and associated terminology, have used a key (not necessarily botanical) and have some prior knowledge of UK flora.

Field Identification Skills Certificate levels 2 and above.

Learning Outcomes

  • Distinguish the flowering and vegetative parts of a range of taxa and identify a range of common plants to genus/species level using a botanical key, including members of the ten major plant families.
  • Recognise and name the major parts of a plant; with reference to how they can be used in practical botanical identification (naming of parts and botanical glossary).
  • Understand how floral formula can help you to make accurate identifications, breaking down recognition into Families, Genus and eventually species (Particular reference on this course will be on the major plant families).
  • Utilise a standard flora (e.g. Stace 2010/2019), with an understanding of how to use these keys more effectively.
  • Understand the need for accurate species identification is essential in identifying and classifying habitats.


Please bring your own packed lunch and refreshments.


Tickets Person(s) Price
Member Ticket 1 £120.00
Non Member Ticket 1 £180.00