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Introduction to Plant Identification (8 sessions)

  • Mar 27, 2014 · 7:00 PM
  • Maryland Naturalist Center

Would you like to develop your plant identification skills beyond paging through a field guide or just matching pictures?  Join us as we learn and practice the language of plant description, the efficient use of identification keys, and strategies for observing plants.  In these eight sessions you'll learn how to confirm identifications, and you'll become familiar with the twelve common plant families that comprise 65 percent of the plants in Maryland.  We’ll emphasize native and naturalized species, but the techniques are applicable to plants anywhere in the world or in your own garden.

The purpose of this course is to introduce vocabulary, tools, and techniques used to identify plants under the guidance of an experienced botanist.  The class includes six evening sessions and two Saturday field trips.  During the sessions we will examine samples of selected plant families, using fresh specimens where possible, or otherwise dried and pressed herbarium specimens. We'll explore standard plant identification keys and their content organization; identify plants to the family level using those keys;  explore online resources for plant identification; and learn terms of plant parts.

During the field trips the instructor will demonstrate clues to identification associated with habitats. Participants will provide their own transportation to field trip sites.

We will be using these two books:

Elpel, Thomas J.  2013.  Botany in a Day APG: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, 6th edition.  Pony, Montana: HOPS Press, LLC. Paperback ISBN[masked]-3.

Harris, James G. and Melinda W. Harris.  2001. Plant Identification Terminology: an Illustrated Glossary, Second Edition. Spring Lake, UT: Spring Lake Publishing.  Available via

Participants are expected to complete readings and short assignments outside of class time.

Participants will need to purchase a hand lens.

Meeting times at the Maryland Naturalist Center and Field Trip times:

Thursday, March 27; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Thursday April 3; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Thursday April 10; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

*Field Trip Saturday April 19; 9 AM to 2 PM

Thursday April 24; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

*Field Trip Saturday May 3; 9 AM to 2 PM

Thursday May 8; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Thursday May 22; 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Cost:  $250 for non-members of the Natural History Society of Maryland.  $225 for members of the Natural History Society of Maryland . Become a member ($25 individual; $35 family) at

Minimum class size: 15. Maximum class size: 25.

Payment:  RSVP via this meetup site to let us know your intentions by March 19. Send a check for $250 (non-members of the Natural History Society of MD) or $225 (members of the Natural History Society of MD) so that it arrives by March 21 to the Natural History Society of Maryland, PO Box 18750, Baltimore, MD 21206-0750. Write 'plant id class' in the note on the bottom of the check.  (You can become a member of the Natural History Society of Maryland at, $25 for individuals; $35 for families.)

Once we receive payment from 25 registrants, registration will close.

Refund:  Once 15 people have RSVPed and paid for the class, we will confirm with you that the class will run. If we don't reach the minimum number of paid registrants by March 21, we will email you and return your check to you.

The class instructor is Charles Davis, a consulting ecologist specializing in rare species inventory and management.  Currently, he is inventorying plants for the U.S. National Park Service on the cliffs at Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.  His clients have included The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, Maryland Army National Guard, U.S. Geological Survey, land developers, and numerous other private landowners.  He holds degrees in Fish & Wildlife Management from West Virginia University and a Master of Science from Towson University.   For ten years he was an instructor for Johns Hopkins University Odyssey Program, Certificate of Environmental Studies, where he taught courses in plant identification and tree identification.

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  • Alexis

    I'm very interested in this course but already have a commitment on Thursdays, will you offer a future session on a different day in the future? Thanks!

    March 26, 2014

  • Marla

    Where are you planning on having the field trips?

    March 17, 2014

    • Linda D.

      Charlie is finalizing the trip locations this week and will let the class know at the first class.

      March 25, 2014

  • Regina M.

    Signed up and the check is in the mail. Hope I'm able to hang in there!

    1 · March 18, 2014

  • Karen O.

    I'm sorry to say that I cannot attend the Introduction to Plant Identification class.

    March 18, 2014

  • Karen O.

    Are you open during the day or what time may I come in to pay. Also are the books available through the Society?

    March 15, 2014

    • Charlie D.

      Karen, I'm so glad you are joining the course. We currently don't have regular hours at the Natural History Society building. You can mail the check to the Society at the P.O. Box address listed above. And we have not stocked books for the course, they are available quickly on-line. Be certain you get the 2013 edition (6th edition) of Elpel's book. Charlie

      March 15, 2014

  • Charlie D.

    ATTENTION: As of Thursday March 13th, Meetup is not working properly and not allowing us to modify the entry, nor allowing people to sign up here. There are still openings in this class. We have extended the signup deadline to Wednesday March 19th and payment deadline to Friday March 21st. Contact me if you want to sign up for the class[masked]; [masked]

    March 13, 2014

20 went

Your organizer's refund policy for Introduction to Plant Identification (8 sessions)

Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • you can cancel at least 14 day(s) before the Meetup

Additional notes: Once 15 people have RSVPed and paid for the class, we will confirm with you that the class will run. If we don't reach the minimum number of paid registrants by March 21, we will email you and return your check to you.

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

Regardless of the refund policy set by the organizer, Meetup may issue refunds on an organizer's behalf if we determine that Meetup's Payment Policies have been violated.

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