Tackling Botany – the Identiplant Journey

Botany is my thing. Well, I want it to be my thing.

I have found myself spending 99% of my time behind a desk rather than out in the field, leaning towards project management rather than field surveying. My exposure to plants, therefore, has been limited at best, with the knowledge I have built over the years slowly evaporating from my memory. During the array of protected species surveys (the typical fauna rather than flora variety), you rarely find the time to focus on the plants that surround you, yet they are fundamental to the presence of many animal species.

I need and crave structure.

Just going out and looking at plants doesn’t work for me. It is just too much and I don’t know where to start. My MSc course did not set me up with a firm grounding in plant identification, more of a learn the specific plant rather than the process of how to get to the plant. Therefore, having heard great things about it, I signed up for the BSBI and Field Studies Council course, Identiplant.

The website states, “it is a distance learning course with a difference – course units are delivered online but you practise real plant identification throughout the summer with the support of a tutor.”

Having been accepted, this course will provide me with a structured 15 units delivered at fortnightly intervals, beginning in February and ending in August, in line with the flowering season. I’ll be tested and required to find and examine wild plants. All with someone at the end of the line to support my learnings and assist where I struggle.

I am excited to have clear guidance to learn the fundamentals of botany that will help me get to any plant by knowing the characteristics and terminology to see me through a key successfully and confidently. In and amongst my collections, assignments and tongue-twisting-terminology, I will hope to share my journey and progress as I improve my observational skills and learn the key diagnostic features of our commonest plant families.

Watch this space.


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