Plant Identification Skills

Module code: BS2018

Module co-ordinator: TBC

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.

Successful completion of this module provides the necessary training to sit the exam for a Field Identification Skills Qualification (FISQ), a professional qualification validated by the Botanical Society of the British Isles. This module will also enable you to undertake an ecological survey research project in your third year.

Topics covered

  • Major plant groups and their evolutionary relationships.
  • Types of identification key
  • Botanical terminology and the nature of diagnostic characters
  • Reliable identification of any land plant to the level of class
  • Reliable identification of 36 of the commoner flowering plant families found wild in the British Isles
  • Use of a dissecting microscope and a compound microscope

Teaching and learning methods

  • 18 one-hour lectures
  • 3 one-hour tutorials
  • 18 hours of lab and field practicals


  • Coursework (20%)
  • Exam, 3 hours (80%)