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 Tropical Plant Identification course will take place in the Herbarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew from 11-22 May 2020. For more information contact the course co-ordinators Tim Utteridge or Anna Trias-Blasi.

To request an application form, or a poster to help us advertise this course, please email The course fee is £850: this covers teaching costs and course materials; funds for travel to Kew and subsistence must be sought elsewhere.