FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Grass Identification

  • NON-RESIDENT: £235

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here

The grass family is the fifth largest (in terms of diversity) and arguably the most economically important of the flowering plant families. However, with its small flowering parts it is also considered one of the more difficult to identify. With an emphasis on floral characteristics, this course is suitable for those who are new to grass identification as we will begin with an introduction to their structure and associated terminology. However, it is expected that you will have some experience of identifying plants and using botanical keys. Visits to a variety of local habitats will give you experience of using keys and identifying a range of common and less well-known grass species in the field. The course will include: An introduction to the structure of grasses including flowering parts and vegetative characters useful in their identification The use of keys and familiarisation with the terminology used Excursions to a variety of habitats in the Malham area with their different associated grasses Time will be divided between the field and the classroom with an emphasis on grass identification in the field during the day. Suggested programme: Friday: Introduction to course: what makes a grass a grass… Saturday: Further introduction to grass structure and use of keys. Visit to limestone pavement and grassland. Sunday: Visit to woodland. Monday: Visit to fen and mire. Identification test (for certificate students) Evenings will mainly be spent in the classroom where we will practice using keys and where microscopes will be available for more thorough examination of flowering parts and identification of more difficult species collected during the day.

Sarah Watson-Jones is trained in field biology and habitat management and has a PhD in Biosciences from the University of Birmingham (plant population genetics). She has several years' experience working in the environmental sector and as a casual tutor for both the FSC and Aberystwyth University. She currently works at Aberystwyth University as a lecturer for a distance learning Master's programme in pasture-based agriculture (www.aber.ac.uk/ibers-dl). 


This course is part of the Biological Recording programmes run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). There is assessment of learning on the course through, for example, identification tests, producing survey reports or field journals, working through keys and other various pieces of work.

Credits from these assessments contribute towards the University Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification and the MSc Biological Recording. To gain University Credits you must register in advance.

To do this, please contact the Division of Biology and Conservation Ecology, Manchester Metropolitan University (Shrewsbury Office),The Gateway, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1NB Telephone: 01743 355137 E-mail: [email protected] For more information about the course please visit the MMU website: http://www.sste.mmu.ac.uk/recording/ The course is also suitable for non-credit students.

Further Information

About Malham Tarn
Directions to Malham Tarn
Grass ID course leaflet 2018

This course is now historical and therefore no bookings can be taken. Explore our current programme of courses here.

View your basket