BS-2018: Plant Identification Skills

2018Semester 1 | Weeks 1-? | Credits: 20


Dr RJ Gornall (Biology)

Learning outcomes

Through a combination of lectures, laboratory classes and field-based classes, students will be taught how to identify a range of common flowering plant families and species, recognised in the context of our current understanding of their evolutionary relationships.

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the major plant groups and their evolutionary relationships.
  • Be familiar with the different types of identification key, know how to use them, and understand the relative merits of each.
  • Understand botanical terminology and the nature of diagnostic characters.
  • Identify reliably any land plant to the level of class.
  • Identify reliably at least 36 of the commoner flowering plant families found wild in the British Isles.
  • Use a dissecting microscope and a compound microscope properly.

Successful completion of the module provides the necessary training in order to:

  • Undertake an ecological survey research project in the 3rd year during which species identification skills will be honed.
  • Sit the exam for a Field Identification Skills Qualification (FISQ), a professional qualification validated by the Botanical Society of the British Isles.

Teaching and learning methods

  • Lectures (18 hours)
  • Tutorials (three hours)
  • Laboratory and field practical classes (18 hours)
  • Private study


  • Coursework (problem based) - 20%
  • Examination (three hours) - 80%

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Contact details

Department of Biology

University of Leicester

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United Kingdom


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