Delve into the fascinating world of Botany in this introductory course and enjoy the opportunity to get hands-on with flowering plants.

As you become familiar with the features of plants from a range of different species, your confidence and ability in using field guides and identification keys will grow.

This course will cover:

  • An introduction to flowering plants
  • Introducing vegetative parts
  • Introducing flowering parts
  • A basic overview of the evolution of flowering plants, and how they fit in the plant kingdom
  • Common species of grassland, hedgerow and wayside

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This lively, informative, hands-on course will offer you a relaxed introduction to the world of botany. With plenty of plant material to pull apart and look at in the classroom, you will investigate the vegetative (leaves, stems, roots) and reproductive (flowers, fruits and seeds) parts of flowering plants, and start to understand the roles that they perform. Moving outside, you will look at the plants growing around the course venue – using them for further study of these features. We will consider the domination of the angiosperms (flowering plants) in the broader context of the whole plant kingdom.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Label the most common vegetative features of plants needed for using botanical keys
  • Describe the main (usual) functions of leaves, stems and roots
  • Understand and explain the functions of the parts of a flower
  • Describe the processes of pollination and fertilisation
  • Describe the challenges that faced plants as they colonised the land
  • Understand (at a basic level) how angiosperms reproduce
  • Distinguish angiosperms from other plant groups
  • Share this knowledge with friends, family and fellow volunteers


Who Should Attend? – The course is for anyone interested in improving their ability to identify and understand the ecology of British wildflowers. This may include nature enthusiasts, students, early career ecologists, citizen scientists, volunteer surveyors, gardeners, and more!

Knowledge Level – Beginner-Intermediate. Level descriptors can be found on the following web-page: Framework and Course Level Descriptors

Prior Knowledge – A basic understanding of plants would be beneficial but no specific experience is needed for this course – just a willingness to explore and learn.

PLEASE NOTE the course fee is for tuition only. There is no accommodation provided with this course.

Bookings will close if course capacity is reached.

Please email b[email protected] if you have any questions.

About the Tutor

Karen van Oostrum has a love of plants and the environment, underpinned by a solid understanding of plant adaptability, physiology and genetics. A Biology graduate of Oxford University with a Ph.D. in wheat genetics, Karen was Head of Education at Cambridge University Botanic Garden from 2006 – 2012. Karen specialises in: running taster courses for adults in Botany, Microscopy, Genetics and Plant Breeding; and supporting the teaching of plant science in Primary Schools.

Example Timetable

Example Timetable

This timetable is subject to change but should give a clear outline of what to expect.

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00am
  • The course will end at 4:30pm

Day 1
10:00am Welcome, H&S, introductions, aims of the course
10:15am Classroom session covering:

  • Flowering and non-flowering plants
  • Angiosperm evolution

11:30am Break – refreshments not provided 
11:45am Classroom session covering: Monocots and dicots
12:15pm Field Session - identifying flowering/non-flowering plants, and monocots
1:00pm Lunch - not provided
2:00pm Classroom session covering:

  • Vegetative features of plants
  • Plant material and functions

3:30pm Break and prepare for field session – refreshments not provided 
3:45pm Field Session - looking at vegetative features
4:30pm Finish

Day 2
10:00am Welcome, recap
10:15am Classroom session covering:

  • Reproductive features
  • Function and variation
  • Pollination and fertilisation

11:30am Break – refreshments not provided 
11:45am Classroom session covering: Types of pollination
12:15pm Field Session - Looking at flowers and brief intro to using botanical keys
1:00pm Lunch - not provided
2:00pm Recap quiz and questions
3:00pm Break and prepare for field session – refreshments not provided
3:15pm Field Session - Opportunity to complete more practical work and develop skills, including further flower dissections, and identification activities outside
4:30pm Finish

Please note accommodation, refreshments and an evening meal are not included.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition

The course has been carefully created by expert tutors and educators to help you continue to build and develop your knowledge and apply it within the field surrounded by like-minded individuals.

The course includes:

  • Classroom learning covering the theory of the species
  • Field excursions to apply new knowledge
  • Expert tuition for which the Field Studies Council is renowned
  • Clear objectives and progression

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be provided. In choosing an FSC course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.

Recommended Devices

It is recommended that you access your course through a PC or laptop. Please be aware that there will be reduced functionality if you decide to access the course through a tablet or smartphone. The Field Studies Council is unable to email content directly to you.

Bursaries and Subsidies

Student Discount

This course is eligible for a student discount. If you are a current student, please use discount code BioStudent20 at checkout for 20% off all Biodiversity courses.

Natural History Bursaries

There are a number of natural history bursaries available to help with the cost of your course. To find out if you and your chosen course are eligible, read more here.


Before You Attend

What to Bring:

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Old jam jar or vase and plastic tubs to put plant material in
  • Camera to capture images
  • Lunch and refreshments
  • Sensible footwear and clothing for being outdoors

If you have them:

  • x10 hand lens
  • Your own reference book(s) - if you already own a copy of the Rose wildflower Key or Streeter’s Collins Wildflower Guide please bring these along, but no need to purchase in advance

Recommended Literature

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical or access requirements, please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

Opportunities to attend this course

This course is not currently available to book. Dates will follow soon.

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Progress Your Learning

This is a training course from the Field Studies Council, including online course materials, expert tuition and a flexible learning style. After attending this course, you may like to progress your learning with further relevant courses or branch out into other areas of natural history. The Field Studies Council offers both online and in person courses, so you can choose the learning style that suits you best.

The course gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new subject and acquire novel skills. Our online portal gives you time to study at your own pace and fit the lessons around your own schedule.

If you have any questions about our courses please check our Frequently Asked Questions or email [email protected].

Group Bookings Made Easy

If you have a group of 10 or more individuals wanting to complete one of our courses, our team are available to discuss your options – from discounts to private team courses. Click here to find out more!

You can rest assured that the absolute best content from an expert in environmental education will be at your fingertips. In choosing a Field Studies Council course, you will be joining thousands of people who learn with us each year.