Study, Learn, and Work More Effectively Growing and Managing Plants
An introduction to plant physiology and taxonomy, including general botany; morphology and anatomy.
- Botany provides a foundation for identifying plants easier and more accurately
- When you know the physical structure of a plant, you will notice and remember distinguishing characteristics with more ease.
- Botany provides insights into what makes plants grow, get sick, or die -and that knowledge helps farmers and horticulturists to greater success.
- Advance your career, improve your job prospects, and develop a better appreciation for the environment.
This course is an essential area of study for anyone who works with plants:
- Gardeners and Landscapers
- Environmental Managers and Farmers
- Nurserymen and Plant Scientists
- Herbalists and Aromatherapists
- Teachers and Writers in Horticulture, Environmental Management and Agriculture
There are 10 lessons in this course:
Taxonomic Classification of Plants
Plant Taxonomy - Botanical/Horticultural Nomenclature
The Binomial System
Plant Families and Species
Hybrids, Varieties and Cultivars
Botanical Keys - How to use a botanical key
Key to Plant Groups
Key to Plant Phyla
Cells and Tissues
Plant Cells - types of plant cells
Primary and Secondary Plant Growth
Specific Vegetative Parts of a Plant
Stems - Different Stem Forms
Leaves - Leaf Structure and Arrangement
Roots - Root Structure (tap root, adventitious roots)
Common Botanical Terms
Flowers and Fruit
The flower - inflorescence (panicle, umbel, composite head)
Fruits - Simple, Aggregate, Multiple
Reproductive Growth and Development
Seed and the Developing Embryo
Food Storage Organs
Seed Germination - Germination Requirements
Stimulation and Inhibition of Germination
Plant Reproduction -Propagation of Plants
Photosynthesis and Growing Plants
Photosynthesis - the Photosynthetic Apparatus
Light transformation into energy
Gas Exchange with the Atmosphere
Stages of Respiration
Electron Transport Chain
Rate of Respiration
Control of ATP Production in Respiration
The Role of Water
Water Movement from Soil to Root
Development of Root Pressure
The Transpiration Stream
Transpiration and Environmental Conditions
Movement of Water and Assimilates through a Plant
Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake
Absorption and Transport of Mineral Nutrients
Translocation of Sugars
Adaptations for Water Storage
Food and Water Storage Organs
The Effects of Tropisms and Other Growth Movements
Other Growth Movements
Chemical Growth Modifications
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Understand the relationship between the scientific principles of this unit and horticultural practices
Demonstrate a knowledge of the Plant Kingdom and understanding of the taxonomic hierarchy
Identify and describe the different types of plant cells and tissues, their structure and function
Determine the role and function of specific vegetative parts of the plant
Determine the role and function of the reproductive parts of the plant
Demonstrate an understanding of the role and function of the seed in the life cycle of the plant
Explain the mechanism and the role of photosynthesis in the metabolism of plants and relate to plant growth in controlled environments
Explain the mechanism and the role of respiration in the metabolism of plants
Demonstrate an understanding of the role of water in the plant
Review the movement of water, solutes and assimilates through the plant
Understand the effects of tropisms and other plant movements on growth and development
Undertake risk assessments relevant to the learning outcomes in this unit
What is a Plant Made Up of?
Plants have four main parts:
- Roots the parts which generally grow below the soil
- Stems the framework
- Leaves required for respiration, transpiration and photosynthesis
- Reproductive Parts flowers and fruits.
The main stem and its branches are the framework that supports the leaves, flowers and fruits. The leaves, and also green stems, manufacture food via the process known as photosynthesis, which is transported to the flowers, fruits and roots. The vascular system within the stem consists of canals, or vessels, which transfer nutrients and water upwards and downwards though the plant (i.e.: This is equivalent to the blood system in animals).
Stems may be modified for a variety of reasons. Some modifications are:
• tendrils ... instead of a defined branch, the stem is modified into a climbing tendril with leaves appearing periodically along the tendril
• thorns ... thorns appear along the stem. It is in fact a modified stem. eg. Bougainvillea
• prickle ... sharp appendage of the epidermis of the stem i.e. it is a trichome. It is not morphologically a stem, leaf, etc. eg. Rosa spp.
• stolon or runners ... above ground eg. Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
• rhizome ... below ground eg. Canna spp.
• stem tubers ... large fleshy storage regions eg: potato
• corm ... function as a food storage to carry the plant over till next season eg: gladioli
• cladodes and phylloclades ... a cladode is a branch of a single internode which is flattened to simulate a leaf. A phylloclade is an entire shoot similarly flattened.
The primary function of leaves is photosynthesise, which is a process in which light energy is caught from the sun and stored via a chemical reaction in the form of carbohydrates such as sugars. Leaves are also the principle plant part involved in the process known as transpiration whereby water evaporating, mainly through the leaf pores (or stomata), sometimes through the leaf cuticle (or surface) as well, passes out of the leaf into a drier external environment. This evaporating water helps regulate the temperature of the plant. This process may also operate in the reverse direction whereby water vapour from a humid external environment will pass into the drier leaf. The process of water evaporating from the leaves is very important in that it creates a water gradient or potential between the upper and lower parts of the plant. As the water evaporates from the plant cells in the leaves then more water is drawn from neighbouring cells to replace the lost water. Water is then drawn into those neighbouring cells from their neighbours and from conducting vessels in the stems. This process continues, eventually drawing water into the roots from the ground until the water gradient has been sufficiently reduced. As the water moves throughout the plant it carries nutrients, hormones, enzymes etc. In effect this passage of water through the plant has a similar effect to a water pump, in this case causing water to be drawn from the ground, through the plant and eventually out into the atmosphere.
A leaf consists basically of a petiole (stalk of the leaf) and a lamina (blade of the leaf). The leaf may be simple or compound (compound leaves consist of a number of smaller leaflets).
There are many leaf modifications that may occur including :
• stipules at the base of the petiole appearing like winged leaves eg: peas
• leaf sheath ... leaf base surrounded by a sheath which encases the stem. eg. grasses and sedges.
• ochrea ... a membranous sheath arising from the leaf base and surrounding the axillary bud and stem for a short distance above the node. eg. Polygonaceae family.
• bulbs ... storage tissue eg: daffodil, onion
• ligule ... a small membranous or ciliate appendage at the top of the leaf sheath in most grasses.
• tendrils ... the leaf is modified into a tendril. Identifiable due to the bud at the base of the tendril with frequently large stipules. eg. peas.
• leaf spines ... small spines either on the margins or the whole leaf. Have buds at the union with the stem which indicates a modified leaf. eg thistle and Opuntia spp.
• phyllode ... characteristic of Acacias where the lamina is very small and the petiole is enlarged.
• pulvinus ... swelling at the base of the leaf and leaflets, provides the ability to allow movement by turgidity eg: Mimosa pudica
• auricle ... small ear like appendage on grasses
• cataphylls ... reduced leaves at base of plant eg. bud and rhizome scales.
• hypsophylls ... reduced leaves on apex of plant eg. bracts, floral leaves.
Soil provides the plant with the following things:
Roots absorb nutrients, water and gasses transmitting these "chemicals" to feed other parts of the plant. Roots hold the plant in position and stop it from falling over or blowing away. Plant nutrients can be supplied, broadly speaking, in three different forms:
1. Water soluble simple chemical compounds. Nutrients in these compounds are readily available to plants (i.e.: The plant can absorb them quickly and easily).
2. Less soluble simple chemical compounds. The nutrients in these compounds can be used by plants without needing to undergo any chemical change, but because they don't dissolve so easily in water, they aren't as readily useable as the more soluble compounds. The diminished solubility may be because of the nature of the compound (eg: superphosphate) or may be due to something else (eg: Slow release fertilisers such as osmocote, which is made by incorporating the simple chemicals inside a semi permeable bubble thus nutrients move slowly out of the bubble). This second group of nutrients when placed in soil will last longer than the first group of water soluble nutrients.
3. Complex chemical compounds. These require chemical changes to occur before the nutrients can be absorbed by plants. They include organic manures and fertilisers which need to be broken down by soil micro organisms into a form which the plant can use. They also include other complex fertilisers which need to be affected by natural acids in the soil, or heat from the sun, to become simple compounds which the plant roots can use.
Complex chemicals release their nutrients gradually over a long period of time, depending on the range of chemical changes needed to take place before the plant can use them. Plants grown in a soil derive their nutrients from all three types of compounds. The availability of these compounds varies according to not only the group they come from but also according to factors such as heat, water, soil acids and micro-organisms present. As such, it is impossible to control the availability of nutrients in soil to any great degree.
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month.
- See www.acsebook.com for ebooks (available in pounds stirling). We also sell books through our Australian bookshop (selling in Australian dollars) at www.acsbookshop.com