Vegetative Keys for Identifying Plants

Summer is a good time to practise keys that focus on vegetative features. Most field guides focus on features of flowers and fruits to differentiate between species and this can be frustrating when the plant you are interested in has neither! A plant that may be easily recognisable when it is in flower can seem featureless when it is not. Also when they are present, flowers may look very similar between species within a genera, and plants with inconspicuous flowers may present a challenge. Vegetative features such as hairs, stomata and stems in cross-section can be diagnostic features, assisting in accurately identifying plants to species level. Having confidence in using vegetative keys will not only help you back up identification using a flower key, but also give you the freedom to identify those same plants all year-round. We will focus on using ‘The Vegetative Key’ by Poland and Clements but will also try some other vegetative keys for specific groups. This course is suitable for beginners (no previous knowledge will be assumed) and it also suitable for improvers. This course contributes to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements and a Certificate of Attendance can be provided on request. Bursaries are available for this course, generously organised by the Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service. Please contact FSC Flatford Mill for details.

Alanna Cooper is a botanist and is principal ecologist at a local environmental and engineering consultancy. She has experience of botanical survey work and habitat management in both Canada and the UK for a diverse variety of habitats. She is actively involved in the Wildflower Society and BSBI and is convenor for the CIEEM East of England committee.

How to Apply

To book a place on this course, please visit the FSC website or contact the centre directly on 0206 297110.

Please mention when enrolling in this Course!

Key Information

Start date:

31st July 2019 at 9:00am


From £170


Field Studies Council






Flatford Mill, Suffolk, United Kingdom

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