Conifer Identification for Ecologists


Put off by Conifers, want to go beyond ‘Conifer species’, even the more experienced Ecologists tend to shy away from tackling what initially looks like a challenging group. This course will develop and support your abilities in recognising the major genera of conifers, and start to separate the many species.

Identification will focus on foliage and cones for the different groups within conifers (characters suited to both mature and juvenile material). Key identification features for genera and species will be taught, using a range of handouts, keys and visual presentations.
By the end of the course you should be able to identify in the field and laboratory a range of the major genera of conifers, and have had practice looking for appropriate characters to confirm the species. Recent taxonomic changes and how these have affected current naming of Conifers will also be discussed.
A recent conifer course had the following feedback by an ecologist. ‘I have been collecting bits of conifers to identify ever since the weekend… I feel more confident to have a go. My reports will have all sorts now, not just ‘conifer’!’

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, have used a key (not necessarily botanical) and are aware of nomenclature and taxonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  • Distinguish the ‘flowering’ and vegetative parts of a range of Conifer taxa and identify a range of common plants to genus/species level using a botanical key.
  • Recognise and name the major parts of a conifer; with reference to how they can be used in practical botanical identification (naming of parts and botanical glossary).
  • Utilise a standard flora (e.g. Stace 2010/2019), with an understanding of how to use these keys more effectively.
  • Understand that 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 £135.00
Non Member Ticket 1 £195.00