Skip to main content
You are here
Facebook icon
Pinterest icon
Twitter icon

Applied Plant Taxonomy, Identification and Field Skills Course

This course draws on the expertise of scientists from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew to provide training in the identification of plant families and in field survey techniques, and to demonstrate the latest appropriate field technologies.
Students learn about plant taxonomy and identification

Course details

During this two-week course Kew’s scientists provide lectures and practicals on the identification of common plant families, field survey and analytical techniques, plant taxonomy and nomenclature, and molecular and anatomical methods in systematics. The importance of linking taxonomic, identification and survey skills with conservation initiatives will be elucidated using Kew case studies.

The course is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), which is providing competitive bursaries covering travel, accommodation, subsistence and course costs.

Dates of course

12th - 22nd September, 2016

Application deadline 15th July 2016.


The course runs for two weeks from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

Course venue

Classes are taught in Kew's Herbarium (situated next to Elizabeth Gate on Kew Green); about 15 minutes’ walk from Kew Gardens Underground station (District Line/London Overground) and 10 minutes’ walk from Kew Bridge station (South West Trains).

How to get the the HLAA (map)

Who is the course is designed for?

This course has been designed for PhD students and early-career researchers undertaking all aspects of environmental science but particularly ecology, botany and conservation. All environmental science students are encouraged to apply, but those applicants with existing NERC funding and/or based in the UK will be given priority.

How is the course taught?

Through short illustrated lectures, and extensive hands-on practical sessions sessions (including a one-day field trip), Kew scientists will demonstrate the key concepts in plant taxonomy, identification and field survey techniques. In addition, the course will provide a comprehensive introduction to plant taxonomy and nomenclature, including the role of molecular methods and anatomical studies in systematics, and will introduce CBD and CITES legislation to place the training in context in the science-policy interface. After completing the course, participants will:

  • be able to identify c. 30 plant families (focus on temperate regions; some also tropical) using key characters and relevant identification tools;
  • correctly interpret scientific names and classifications;
  • have a comprehensive understanding and practical experience of mapping and navigation using GPS, survey skills and sampling design, selecting appropriate field tools and technologies to use;
  • make botanical specimens of high scientific value;
  • understand the role of molecular, phytochemical and anatomical data in systematic studies;
  • be aware of the importance of linking taxonomic, identification and survey skills with conservation initiatives.

How to apply

Applications for a place on the course should be made using the application form on the

For more information contact the course coordinator Gemma Bramley.