Course Title: Collect and classify plants

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2011

Course Code: AGRI5008C

Course Title: Collect and classify plants

School: 155T Vocational Health and Sciences

Campus: City Campus

Program: C5161 - Diploma of Conservation and Land Management

Course Contact: Nevil Schultz

Course Contact Phone: +61 3 99254221

Course Contact Email:

Name and Contact Details of All Other Relevant Staff

Nominal Hours: 120

Regardless of the mode of delivery, represent a guide to the relative teaching time and student effort required to successfully achieve a particular competency/module. This may include not only scheduled classes or workplace visits but also the amount of effort required to undertake, evaluate and complete all assessment requirements, including any non-classroom activities.

Pre-requisites and Co-requisites

There are no prerequisites

Course Description

This course is designed to provide opportunities for the development of plant classification, identification, collection and preservation skills. Learning opportunities are provided to acquire underpinning knowledge for these skills, and include study in:
fundamentals of biological taxonomy, evolutionary and taxonomic hierarchies, binomial classification, major phyla, common exotic plant families, common native plant families, vegetation associations, ethical and legal requirements before collection, collection in the field, plant hygiene, safety considerations, recognition of key features of common genera, field herbarium construction, field herbarium applications, correct choice of herbarium materials, preservation techniques, herbarium sample maintenance, hand-lens & stereomicroscope use and plant dissection, herbarium practises such as plant sterilisation, mounting, labelling, ordering of species specimens, type specimens, use of field guides, use of botanical keys, sub-species & varieties, authorities used in nomenclature.

The course will run in the first year of the diploma over the first two semesters

National Codes, Titles, Elements and Performance Criteria

National Element Code & Title:

RTC5011A Collect and classify plants


1. Prepare for plant collecting.

Performance Criteria:

1.1 Purpose and objectives for collecting range of plants is confirmed.
1.2 Area, location and/or habitat for collecting is defined.
1.3 Resources to assist in plant location and identification are determined and prepared.
1.4 Equipment required for collecting and preserving specimens is determined and prepared.
1.5 Licences and/or permission to collect specimens are sought from landowner or managing agency.
1.6 Range of likely operating conditions, hazards and difficult/sensitive environments are assessed for impact on  collecting and preserving specimens.
1.7 OHS hazards associated with plant collecting are identified.


2. Collect plant specimens

Performance Criteria:

2.1 Collecting ethics are observed when selecting specimens for picking.
2.2 Relevant information about the specimen, its characteristics and occurrence is entered into a field note book and location
coordinates are noted.
2.3 Specimen collected provides adequate material for identification and preserving.
2.4 Specimens are correctly tagged and stored for later identification.
2.5 Appropriate OHS legislative requirements and work practices are followed.


3. Identify plant specimens

Performance Criteria:

3.1 Preservation of specimen is undertaken while still fresh.
3.2 Specimen is cleaned and prepared for preserving according to enterprise guidelines.
3.3 Preserving of specimen carried out using either pressing or drying techniques.
3.4 Dried specimen is mounted and labelled with accurate information from notebook.


4. Preserve specimens

Performance Criteria:

4.1 Resources are identified and accessed to assist in identification.
4.2 The basic characteristics of a plant are identified and documented.
4.3 Relevant plant key is used to identify plant.
4.4 Plant identity is confirmed against botanical description of species.
4.5 Plant identity is documented on label according to enterprise guidelines

Learning Outcomes

This is a competency based program. Details of the competencies are provided above.

Details of Learning Activities

Introduction to plant taxonomy

Investigation of  evolutionary background of plants

Laboratory session to examine Non-vascular & Vascular plants

Anglesea field trip

Investigation of  families of Monocots & Dicots

Preparation for Plant Collection & Identification

Drying & pressing techniques

OHS of plant collection

Preparation of a field herbarium

 Field trip to municipal reserve

Comparison of Indigenous vs exotics

Plant dissection - angiosperm anatomy

Using Dichotomous plant keys

Distinguishing subspecies, provenance & genetics of plants

Identifying Eucalypt s & Wattles using Random access keys

Plant sketching and application of specialised nomenclature

Examination of adaptive features of Coastal & Aquatic Plants

Teaching Schedule

Week commencingTopicLearning ActivityAssessment


Feb 7

 Plant Anatomy & Function  


Feb 14

 Plant Evolution & Present Hierarchical Classification, Taxonomy & Nomenclature  


Feb  21

 Non-vascular and vascular plants I practical 1 


Feb 28

Anglesea field study preparation  


7 March

  Anglesea field study on Coastal Woodlands  


21 March

 Non Vascular & Vascular Plants II Practical 1 due


28 March

 Plant Collection & preservation techiques  


4 April

Identification using on-line resources  


11 April

 Monocot Practical



18 April

 Easter break




2 May






9 May

 Revision  Practical 2a & 2b due


16 May

 Test  Test


23 May

 Plant keys I  Anglesea report due


30 May

 Plant Keys II 

 Plant Key assessment



 6 June

 Plant Collection Specifications 



13 June

 Indigenous vs exotic plants  


20 June

Eucalypts Intro  


11 July

 Eucalypts II  


18 July



25 July

 Major Australian dicot families & Nomenclature Practical 3a 


Aug 1

 Major Australian Monocot families & Nomenclature Practical 3b 


Aug 8

 Updating species names, Presentation of plant collections & Herbaria Plant Collection update  Practical 3 & 4 due


Aug 15

 Plant provenance, subspecies & cultivars Field Trip to Local Reserve 


Aug 22

 Advanced plant Nomenclature & taxonomy I  


Aug 29

 Advanced plant Nomenclature & taxonomy II  


Sept 5

 Finalise Plant Collection  Plant Collection due


Sept 12

 Exotic species   
Sept 19Melbourne Flora Assemblages Grasses & Sedges  


Sept 26



3 Oct

 Regional Biome Vegetation  


10 Oct

 Grasses & Sedges  St Alban’s Trip 


17 Oct

  Coastal & aquatic Vegetation  Log Book due
24 OctRevision  
31 OctExam   3 Nov Exam 3 Nov


Please note that this schedule is subject to alteration over the academic year

as some topics will vary in times required to receive adequate coverage.

Students should check emails often & regularly and maintain a high level of attendance at classes

to ensure they are aware  of any changes to the scheduling of topics or assessment dates

Learning Resources

Prescribed Texts

Costermans, L. (1998), Trees of Victoria and Adjoining Areas, Costermans Publishing (A 164 page pocket field guide)


Costermans, C,  (2007) Native Trees & Shrubs of South-Eastern Australia, Reed New Holland

Australian Plants Society Maroondah, Inc. (2001), Flora of Melbourne, Hyland House, Melbourne

Clarke, I. & Lee, H., (2004), Name That Flower, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Vic

Other Resources

Australian National Botanical Gardens plant data Base :


Euclid CD ROM

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course may include a Plant Collection, reports, practical assessments and tests.

Assessment Tasks

Anglesea Woodland Plant report   CA/NYC

Practical 1     Vascular vs Non-vascular plants   CA/NYC      Due  24 March

Practical 2   Monocots & Dicots        Due 12 May

Test  on  Plant Function, Evolution, Hierachies, Vascular & Non-vascular plants 17 May

This test is worth 10% of the year’s grade

Plant Key In-Class Task  31 May

Practical 3a   Australian Dicots, Keys  & Nomenclature   CA/NYC  Due 11 Aug

Practical  3b  Australian Dicots, Keys & Nomenclature       CA/ NYC Due 11 Aug

Plant Collection  Graded Assessment  Due 8 Sept      CHD, CD, CCR, CC & NYC results     The plant Collection is worth 50% of the year’s grade

Log Book CA/NYC  Due 20 Oct

Exam       The exam is worth 40% of the year’s grade   3 Nov   2 Hours

Student’s must achieve 50% or greater in the combined test & exam grade to pass the course

Assessment Matrix

Other Information

This course denotes 120 nominal hours of student learning.

This comprises:

76 Face to Face Classroom hours

10  Hours Anglesea Fieldwork

4 Hours St Alban’s Grassland Fieldwork

8   Preparing Reports

8    Self-Directed Learning

14 Plant Collection Preparation

Course Overview: Access Course Overview