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New Short Course: Plant Taxonomy

ACS Distance Education have just released a new short course in Plant Taxonomy. Written by John Mason, ACS Principal and a number of ACS academics, including Timothy Walker, former lecturer at Oxford and former Director at Oxford Botanic Gardens and Marie Beerman, who holds a Bachelor and Masters of Science (Horticulture).


Plant Taxonomy is the scientific identification of plants. It will help you make more sense of plant names and characteristics.


Anyone who works with plants should understand how critical it is to have an understanding of plant taxonomy and plant identification. Those who work in the horticultural, environmental or agricultural sectors, should be able to identify parts of a plant or have the ability to place plants into higher level scientific classifications such as a family or class. Taxonomy trains people to observe the finer details that separate one plant cultivar from another. It provides a framework that makes the process of identifying plants systematic.

This course will help you identify a plant faster and with greater accuracy than would otherwise be possible.


Studying plant taxonomy has been sidelined, undervalued and neglected in horticulture, agriculture, botany and science courses. “My colleagues have been complaining for decades about these topics being neglected in many horticulture and agriculture courses. In the past they were standard in most certificates, diplomas and degrees, but no longer. This is knowledge that could be lost to the industry if new entrants do not make an effort to learn it.” John Mason, Principal, ACS Distance Education.


Without this level of taxonomic knowledge, you risk miss-identifying plants. That can mean growing a less productive species, or even worse -growing a plant with higher levels of toxins or even a prohibited invasive species – and being completely unaware of it.


As this short course can be studied in your own time, at your own pace, it is a great addition to your professional development and can be completed in a couple of days, they say you can complete the course in 20 hours.


It covers 4 lessons:

Lesson 1 INTRODUCTION – The Why and How of Plant Names

Lesson 2 NAMING THE BITS – Plant Anatomy


Lesson 4 PLANT FAMILIES – The Family Life of Plants


Learn more about this short course on their online bookshop: