In this workshop you will learn to identify plants in 15 common families, which account for over 5,000 taxa – more than 70% of the plant diversity in CA! Together we’ll cover plant parts/terms in the classroom and get hands-on field experience in the Redding area. Read on for details.

Intro to Plant Identification

POSTPONED
Redding, CA
Taught by Julie Kierstead
Download Full Prospectus

CNPS Members $395 / Non-Members $415
Capacity: 20 participants
Last Day to Register: April 6, 2020

Register

Objectives

Target Audience: This workshop will be taught at a beginner level and is open to anyone interested in learning about or improving their knowledge of plant terminology and the characteristics of common plant families, and becoming competent at plant keying using The Jepson Manual and online resources. Those just entering the world of plant identification will benefit from learning the diagnostic characteristics of the most important plant families in CA. Those with prior plant identification experience will be able to refresh their skills and increase their proficiency with more difficult groups such as the Poaceae (grasses) and Asteraceae (sunflowers). Emphasis will be placed on common groups of plants in northern CA; however, information learned in this class will be readily applicable throughout CA and the world.

Description: This is a 3-day introductory workshop. We will begin by teaching basic plant morphology with a focus on the structures necessary for plant ID. Participants will learn the specialized terminology necessary to identify plants in 15 common CA plant families. These families contain more than 5000 taxa, which account for more than 70% of the plant diversity in CA. Learning the characteristics of these plant families will reduce the amount of time required to key many plants to genus and species. We will utilize live material and taxonomic keys to better understand morphology in each family. Scientific names, along with common names, will be used throughout the workshop. The class will include classroom presentations and exercises and two half days in the field in the eastern Klamath ranges and adjacent Cascade foothills. Common native families, genera, and species will be covered, including species in conifer forest, oak woodland, foothill chaparral, grasslands, and seasonal wetlands. Ferns and conifers will be covered (but no non-vasculars).

To earn a certificate of completion, participants must pass an optional quiz at the end of the workshop focusing on identifying common plant structures, sight ID of families covered, and effective use of taxonomic keys for plant ID.

Participants will learn:

  • Biogeography of CA and the workshop area (e.g. CA Floristic Province, Jepson bioregions)
  • Basic plant morphology terminology (the language of describing plant parts) and anatomy
  • Basic plant taxonomy (e.g. nonvascular vs. vascular, spore bearing vs. seed bearing, gymnosperms vs. angiosperms, dicots vs. monocots)
  • Plant nomenclature – how to use scientific names correctly and what they mean; common names
  • How to recognize 15 families of vascular plants encompassing 70% of the plant diversity in CA
  • How to identify some common tree, shrub, and herbaceous species by sight
  • Tips for remembering the differences between similar plant families and species
  • How to use dichotomous keys for plant ID, including The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition
  • Collecting ethics
  • Additional resources and tools available to help identify California plants

The following plant families will be covered in depth: Apiaceae (parsley), Asteraceae (sunflower), Boraginaceae (borage), Brassicaceae (mustard), Caryophyllaceae (pink), Fabaceae (pea), Lamiaceae (mint), Onagraceae (evening primrose), Orobanchaceae (broomrape), Poaceae (grass), Plantaginaceae (plantain), Polemoniaceae (phlox), Polygonaceae (buckwheat), Ranunculaceae (buttercup), Rosaceae (rose). The lily family, in the broad sense (now treated as multiple smaller families in the Jepson flora), will also be covered.

Schedule & Locale

Wednesday, April 22

Meet in the Community Room at the Redding Civic Center. Indoor lab/lecture all day.

9:00 am
Meet and greet; welcome and orientation

9:30 am
Classroom introduction to plant morphology, taxonomy, and family characteristics

Noon
Lunch break (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Continued study of plant families, including keying practice/demonstration

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Thursday, April 23

Meet at designated location, carpool to field site. Partial day in the field practicing sight ID and keying selected plant families/genera, followed by lab ID and review.

8:00 am
Meet at designated location, carpool to field site in the eastern Klamath Range north of Redding TBD

Noon
Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Continued field practice

2:00 pm
Return to community room, continued lab ID and review

5:00 pm
Break for the day

Friday, April 24

Meet at designated location, carpool to field site. Partial day in the field practicing sight ID and keying selected plant families/genera, followed by lab ID, review, and quiz.

8:00 am
Meet at designated location, carpool to field site in the Cascade foothills east of Redding TBD

Noon
Lunch in the field (please bring your own lunch and water)

1:00 pm
Return to community room, continued lab ID and review

3:30 pm
Quiz (70% score or better for certificate of completion), course evaluations

5:00 pm
Workshop concludes

Schedule subject to change.

Venue: Classroom portions of his workshop will be held in the Community Room at the Redding Civic Center, located at 777 Cypress Ave, Redding, CA 96001. Field sites TBA will be located nearby in the eastern Klamath ranges and adjacent Cascade foothills. Additional details will be provided to registered participants about a week before the workshop.

Materials & Requirements

Please bring...

  • Hand lens, metric ruler
  • Clipboard, field notebook, pencils, scotch tape, bags for collecting plant material
  • Sturdy shoes/boots, hat, and field clothing appropriate for the weather and conditions (e.g. protection from rain, sun, heat/cold, insects, poison oak, etc.)
  • The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition (optional, but highly recommended)
  • Packable lunches and plenty of water and snacks for all 3 days

Materials Provided: CNPS will provide handouts, dissecting microscopes, technical references, and online resources. We will send some advance materials on plant structure terminology.

Physical Requirements: Participants should be physically able to walk up to a mile at a time on narrow and uneven paths, along roads, and trails, and remain outside for up to 6 hours at a time. This workshop will be held rain or shine. We will spend approx. 33% of the time in the field. Participants will be in outdoor areas with poison oak, ticks, and snakes, and should dress appropriately for safety.

About the Instructor

Julie Kierstead

Julie Kierstead retired in 2019 after thirty years as forest botanist for the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, an area of 2.2 million acres from Mt. Shasta south to Shasta Lake, and west through the Trinity Alps to the Coast Range. She has broad experience in the flora of these areas, including both common and rare species. Her plant photos, specimens, and observations can be found on CalPhotos, Calflora, and the Consortium of California Herbaria. She is on the board of directors of Northern California Botanists and regularly presents information on newly discovered species from this area. She took a second job teaching native plant ID at Shasta College for four years to put her beloved offspring through UC San Diego without saddling him with any student loan debt.

Registration

Before registering, please review our full workshop cancellation policy and participant expectations. The last day to cancel your registration for this workshop and receive any refund (less the cancellation fee) is Monday, March 23, 2020. For other ways to register, please see our full registration & payment policy.

Did you know CNPS members get discounts on workshops? If you’re not a current member, you can join or renew now before completing the registration form below to qualify for special members-only rates!