Plant Identification and Botanical Keys


This one day course will give participants the confidence to identify a wide range of common plant species using plant components, such as stem, leaf, bract, inflorescence, roots/bulbils, reproductive organs and hairs as identifying features. Training will also cover using botanical keys to identify plants. We will also be looking at the naming rules and hierarchical structure of plants, sub-species and hybrids (taxonomy). The park consists of 400 acres of grasslands, woodlands and riparian habitat (River Alyn). If weather permits, training will include a short field survey within the park. The results will help inform the BSBI County Recorder's records but also help towards building records of species found at Alyn Waters.


Key areas of study include plant taxonomy and classification (family, genus, species), plant physiology and biology (including reproduction), identifying plant components (stem, leaf, petals, sepals, bracts, hairs, reproductive organs), identifying at family level (e.g. mint/deadnettle: square stemmed, labiate flower), look-alike plants, understanding the laws surrounding protected species and invasive plants and understanding the habitats and 'niches' in which species grow.

At the end of this course you should feel more confident about looking past the obvious features of a plant, such as floral structure and colour, and be able to use different parts of a plant, such as reproductive organs, stem, leaves and hairs, as identification features. You should also be able to use a botanical key to narrow down a plant specimen to species level. To identify some plants a microscope is needed, but for the most part a 10x magnification hand lens is sufficient for identifying most species out in the field. Hand lenses will be available for participants to use on the day. However, for closer inspection, you may want to bring your own 20x or 30x magnification hand lens.

Participants will have the chance to get 'hands on' using specimen plants supplied by the trainer. Latex free safety gloves will be provided. If you own a field guide, please bring it along. Part of the course will involve a field study within the park.

Set in 400 acres, training will take place in a relaxed and spacious conference room within the Visitor Centre. The room has free wifi, direct access to its own private deck area through doors which open out directly onto the park where members can relax during break times and lunch. There is also an on-site café and picnic tables available within the park. The venue is situated 3 miles north of Wrexham and easily accessible from the A541(just follow the brown and white country park signs off the A541 Mold Road along a drive to the Visitor Centre.

There is on-site parking for which there is a £1 parking fee.

Who Should Attend?

The course is aimed at anyone wishing to gain confidence in plant identification skills and using botanical keys. This may include land managers, local authority ecologists and planners, conservation officers and licensing staff within SNCOs or NGO’s, students, ecological consultants, environmental managers, wardens, rangers.

This course is also suitable for conservation volunteers who need to gain botanical ID skills in order to conduct surveys and record species for conservation charities.

Knowledge Level

Beginner - Intermediate

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge of experience of botanical ID is required to attend this training.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify plant species including the use of appropriate tools and techniques
  • Understand taxonomy and classification of plant species
  • Make assessment of species status
  • Use safe, biosecure and legal species handling techniques
  • Recognise personal limitations and areas for development and seeking opportunities to develop knowledge, understanding and skills


Course fee includes refreshments throughout the day. Please bring your own packed lunch or order food from the on-site café.


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