Week 1

What's it all about?

1. The course (course design, overview of assignments, assumptions, etc.).

2. Plant taxonomy - plants meet humans.

Readings: Judd et al. pp. 1-3, 6-11, chapter 3.
Old pages: History; Botanical hierarchy; nomenclature; classification, identification, recognition

Geological timeline

The plant side of things: Wondrous events in plant evolution; rhyniophytes; tracheophytes;

Week 2

From lycopods through monilophytes (Powerpoint file, initial version prepared by Michael Piep)

Compact guide to ferns of the Intermountain Region; Interactive dichotomous key to fern families in the Intermountain Region; fern web with good pictures

FAMILIES to know: Lycopodiaceae, Selaginellaceae, Isoetaceae, Ophioglossaceae, Equisetaceae, Marsileaceae, Pteridaceae, Polypodiaceae

Thursday: Development of the seed - and its significance.

Week 3

Gymnosperms (Powerpoint) [I shall review this and update it if necessary. One link is to an html page that should open the presentation, the other is to the powerpoint itself].

Lab 1: Ferns in the herbarium; focus on families.

Lab 2. Gymnosperms. Learn to recoginize (and be able to explain how):

Pinaceae, Cupressaceae (including Taxodiaceae), Ephedraceae, and Cycads (a division)

and the following genera

Taxa: Pinaceae: Pinus, Pseudotsuga, Abies, Picea, Larix, Cedrus

Taxaceae: Taxus

Cupressaceae: Juniperus, Thuja, Sequioadendron

Ephedraceae: Ephedra [will have to look at these on Tursday]

We looked at some other families and genera in lab but you are responsible for being able to recognize the taxa listed above. We shall continue this practice of looking at more than you will be required to recognize throughout the semester because education involves trying to learn lots, not confining one's learning to boxes. You may draw on all the material presented - plus information you gain from your own reading - in answering questions on tests. Do not let a college course limit your education - but make very sure you learn what will be tested.

Week 4 Introducing angiosperms

Angiosperm structures.

I recommend browsing the portion of Chapter 4 on structural characters but the primary emphasis will be on becoming sufficiently familiar with your texts that you can use them efficiently to find answers.

Week 5

Monday: Viscaceae, Boraginaceae, Malvaceae

Wednesday: Caryophyllaceae, Lamiaceae, Solanaceae - with a first look at Amaryllidaceae

Thursday: Within Angiosperms - some common trends

Week 6

Tuesday (Monday lab): Catchup for those who missed Week 5 (others may attend).

Wednesay: Brassicaceae, Orchidaceae, Amaryllidaceae

Thursday: Different approaches to classification. Basically chapters 2 and 3 in the text book with an emphasis on the thinking behind different approaches.

Week 7

Monday: Midterm

Part 1: Recognition of families studied (and genera of gymnosperms). See information from previous weeks to determine which you are expected to be able to recognize.You may be asked to give a reason for your answer. This should cite one of the features of the sample provided. If all that is provided is a cone scale, you may not give "has sharp needles" as a reason even if the cone scale is clearly from a species of Picea.

Part 2: Keying. There is NEVER a promise that the plants that you are asked to key will be from families that you have seen. The reason for learning to key is that it enables you to work out the name of a plant that you have not seen before.

Part 3: Written. This can draw on any of the material that has been presented, whether in lecture or lab. It will include a mixture of question types, up to and including those requiring short paragraphs. We shall discuss tables today in lab.

Wednesday: Families

Thursday: In lieu of class, by groups, prepare a presentation on one of the families studied on Wednesday.

Apiaceae, Ranunculaceae, Oxalidaceae

ALSO: On Monday, come to class knowing where each of the families studied lies on the tree on the end pages. This means finding out which order they are in and then locating the order on the end pages. Where the families lie on the tree is more important for this class, not the order in which they are placed. (Learning more never hurts, but it is not required).

Week 8

Apiaceae, Apocynaceae, Primulaceae

Asteraceae and presentations

USVH Project

Week 9

Fabaceae, Rosaceae, Euphorbiaceae

Fabaceae (part 2), Amaranthaceae (including Chenopodiaceae)

Names, nomenclature, taxa, and taxonomic concepts


Spring break: Enjoy


Week 10 [March 23, 25]

Poaceae, Betulaceae

Week 11

Monocots Commelinales Poaceae
  Commelinales Cyperaceae
  Commelinales Juncaceae


Week 12

Basal dicots Ranunculales Ranunculaceae
Core dicots Caryophyllales Caryophyllaceae
  Caryophyllales "Portulacaceae"
  Caryophyllales Amaranthaceae (includes Chenopods)
  Caryophyllales Polygonaceae
  Saxifragales Crassulaceae

Core rosids. I forgot to make a andout of the presentation. If you wish to pick one up, I shall have them in the herbarium today (Friday, April 3). Alternatively, I shall bring them to lab. on Monday.

Week 13

Fabids Malpighiales Salicaceae
Fabids Fagales Betulaceae
Rosid-Fabid Myrtales Onagraceae
Malvids Brassicales Brassicaceae
Malvids Malvales Malvaceae
Lamiids Gentianales Apocynaceae (includes Asclepiadaceae)