Tropical Plant Identification

Our botanists share their expertise in identifying plants from the biodiversity-rich tropical regions of the world.

People sat around a table identifying a tropical plant specimen

This two-week course has been run regularly since 2004 and arose from weekly family identification sessions held in our Herbarium.

It is taught by Kew’s botanists, all with an in-depth knowledge of the plants and habitats of the tropics. 

Course participants will complete an overview of 70 of the most commonly encountered tropical plant families, as well as an introduction to plant morphology and identification tools. 

Who is the course designed for? 

Conservation and environment professionals, and is also suitable for graduate students, ethnobotanists, ecologists and zoologists.  

How is the course taught? 

The course will be delivered by short illustrated lectures and extensive hands-on practical sessions. Kew botanists will demonstrate the key characters for each family, sharing their expert tips for identification.  

Students will join identification sessions focused on different regions in the tropics, and a visit to the living collections will provide a chance to apply this knowledge ‘in the field’. Class sizes are small, a maximum of 16 participants. 

How to apply for place 

The next course will run from 13 - 24 May 2024. The fees for the course are £850.

Please download a copy of the application form below and send your completed form to

The deadline for applications is 8 December 2023.