This grass identification course is designed to enable anyone to identify grasses by their vegetative (non-flowering) characteristics and should be especially valuable to those engaged in botanical survey work, and teachers of ecology, as well as to amateur botanists. In the laboratory you will become familiar with grass parts and diagnostic features for certain species and will also gain valuable practice in using various Keys (including AIDGAP, Hubbard and Poland and Clement) to identify grasses.

You will then practice identifying grasses during field excursions to pasture, downland, heathland and woodland habitats. You may also carry out a small ecological project to investigate distribution of certain grasses in relation to soil type. Your tutor will use a variety of teaching methods during the course to give you lots of opportunities to practice your new-found grass identification skills. This course is suitable for CPD (Continuing Professional Development) and a Certificate of Attendance can be provided on request.

Tutor: Judith Allinson

Judith Allinson is a former member of FSC staff and co-author of the AIDGAP Key to the Vegetative Stages of Grasses. She spent several years carrying out botanical surveys for English Nature. She has run the Grass Identification in Spring course at Juniper Hall for a number of years and has also taught grass identification courses at Kindrogan, Nettlecombe Court and Malham Tarn Field Centres.

Example Timetable

Start and finish times

Residential guests are welcome to arrive, register and settle into rooms any time between 15.30 and 17.30 on Friday. Non-residents should aim to be here by 17.30. Afternoon tea will be served at 16.00. A short welcome talk will take place at 18.30. You will then be shown into dinner at 18.45. The course will begin with a classroom session after dinner and will finish with afternoon tea at approximately 16.00 on Monday.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport

Before You Attend

Please bring the following with you if you can

  • Hand lens (x10 magnification) - can be borrowed from the Centre
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Stout shoes or boots (wellies can be borrowed from the Centre)
  • Waterproofs (just in case!) – these can be borrowed from the Centre
  • Small rucksack or bag
  • Hat and sunscreen
  • Lunchbox
  • Water bottle
  • Casual clothing
  • Small Torch
  • Large plastic bags for specimen collection

Recommended Reading

  • Hubbard, C. E. Grasses - Pelican Books (1984)

Other Useful Books

  • Cope, T & Gray, A. Grasses of the British Isles (BSBI) 2009
  • Poland, J & Clement, E.J. The Vegetative Key to the British Flora (BSBI)
  • Fitter R, Fitter A & Farrer R. Grasses, Sedges, Rushes & Ferns of Britain and Northern Europe (Collins)
  • Rose F. Grasses, Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of Britain and North Western Europe (Viking)
  • Stace, C.A. New Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press
  • Clapham A.R., Tutin T.G. & Warburg. Excursion flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1981)

Plus any other grass books you may have.