Course Title: Collect and classify plants

Part B: Course Detail

Teaching Period: Term1 2012

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 are 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. Occupational Health and Safety (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.

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 6

 Plant Anatomy & Function  


Feb 13

 Plant Evolution & Present Hierarchical Classification, Taxonomy & Nomenclature  


Feb  20

 Non-vascular and vascular plants  


Feb 27

Anglesea field study preparation  


5  March

  Anglesea field study on Coastal Woodlands  


12 March

 Non Vascular & Vascular Plants 1a practical 1a 


19  March

 Non Vascular & Vascular Plants 1b practical 1b 


 26 March

Identification using on-line resources  Practical 1 a and 1b due


2  April

 Monocot & Dicot Structures Practical



9  April

 Easter break




16 April

 Monocot & Dicot Structures





23 April

  Four Monocot Families  Practical 2a & 2b due


30 April

Four Dicot Families Banyule Exc’n 


7 May

 Plant keys I  Anglesea report due


14 May

 Plant Keys II 

 Plant Key assessment



 21 May

 Plant Collection Specifications 



28 May

 Plant Collection & preservation techiques Indigenous vs exotic plants 


4 June

 11 June Test  Test
 18  June - 8 July VACATION  
9 JulyEucalypts IntroLaunch Plant Collection 


16 July

 Eucalypts II  


23 July



30 July

 Extended Australian dicot families & Nomenclature

 Plant Id Practical 3a

keys,field guides



Aug 6


Australian Monocot families & Nomenclature

 Practical 3b

keys,  field guides



Aug 13

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


Aug 20

 Plant provenance, subspecies & cultivars Field Trip to Local Reserve, Banyule 


Aug 27

 Advanced plant Nomenclature & taxonomy  


Sept 3

Aquatic  Plants  


Sept 10

 Riparian plants Update on plant collection 


Sept 17

 Exotic species Melbourne Flora Assemblages Grasses & Sedges  


1 Oct

 Finalise work on plant collection  


8 Oct

 Regional Biome Vegetation  Plant Collection due


15 Oct

 Grasses & Sedges  St Alban’s Trip 


22 Oct

  Coastal & aquatic Vegetation  Log Book  with St. Alban’s responsesdue
29 OctRevision  
31 OctExam   Tues 13 Nov Exam 13 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     Due 10 th May

Practical 1     Vascular vs Non-vascular plants       Due  29 March

Practical 2   Monocots & Dicots        Due 26 April

Test  on  Plant Function, Evolution, Hierachies, Vascular & Non-vascular plants, Monocots & Dicots 12 June

Plant Key In-Class Task : Tuesday 15 May

Practical 3a   Australian Dicots, Keys  & Nomenclature    Due 16 Aug

Practical  3b  Australian Dicots, Keys & Nomenclature        Due 16  Aug

Plant Collection  Graded Assessment  Due 11 Oct     

Exam       Date to be advised

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

NOTE: The assessment staregy for this course is currently under review and may change. Current information will be placed on Blackboard.

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