Winter Tree ID: extending the season in ecological surveys


Winter is seen as a time of year when little useful field botany can be done, but that is not the case with deciduous trees and shrubs. They are in many ways easier to identify when the leaves are out of the way. The course starts with an introduction to the key characters used in the identification of deciduous trees and shrubs, using specimens and illustrated talks. We will use the latest winter tree identification guides including John Poland’s new ‘The Field Key to Winter Twigs (2019), Bernd Schulz’s “Identification of Trees and Shrubs in winter using Buds and Twigs’ (2018), and the FSC ‘Guide to the identification of deciduous Broad-leaves trees and Shrubs in Winter’.
Time may then be spent outdoors using these skills to identify the trees and shrubs that we come across (so wrap up warm).
This is a day course aimed at the keen beginner and improver alike, providing an introduction to winter tree identification. Emphasis will be placed on key characters to distinguish each species from similar looking plants. By the end of the course participants will be able to use a key and will be able to recognise the key characters.

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 major ‘vegetative’ parts of a range of deciduous tree and shrub taxa and identify a range of common plants to genus/species level using botanical keys.
  • Recognise and name the major types of characters e.g. leaf bud arrangement, leaf scar forms, different buds types, and other key identification structures that are widely used within the ‘Poland’ key.
  • Utilise a standard flora (e.g. Poland 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 (£)
CIEEM Member Ticket 1 £135.00
Non Member Ticket 1 £195.00