When trying to identify plants using keys are you confused by botanical terms and can’t quite understand what terms like ligule, phyllary or stipule mean? Worse still, you can’t even find them on your specimen! You will use hand lenses to examine ‘simple’ flowers such as buttercups right through to the ‘dreaded’ grasses. This course will not cover everything you need to know to identify wild plants but it should help! This course aims to guide you through the basic elements of flowering plant anatomy and explain what some of the apparently tortuous language refers to. Participants will use hand lenses to examine ‘simple’ flowers such as buttercups right through to the ‘dreaded’ grasses (the basics of which are a lot easier than people think).

Tutor: Mark Spencer

Mark Spencer did his PhD on the evolution of oomycetes and has a long-standing interest in field mycology. He is an experienced botanist and is the vascular plant recorder for the LNHS and BSBI Middlesex vice-county recorder. He has research and personal interest in 17th and 18th botanical science, urban botany, non-natives and the impacts of environmental change.

Example Timetable

09.30 Registration
10.00 Welcome, health and safety and introduction
10.15 Morning session
13.00 Lunch
13.30 Afternoon session
15.50 Taking your interest further and course reviews
16.00 Course finishes

All timings are approximate. This is an outline programme and may be subject to change according to the weather, requirements of the group or access restrictions to field sites on the day of the course. Our courses include some classroom sessions but field visits may be a few hours long and involve walking over uneven ground.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to bring

  • Sensible clothing for the weather
  • Appropriate footwear
  • Lunch and Drinks (refreshments are provided)


  • Your favourite botany field guide and hand lens, if you have them