This program introduces taxonomy and how to use dichotomous keys. Participants will learn about branching, leaf arrangement, variation and how to use a sample key to identify plants. Collections can be made before class if weather prevents participants from going outside.
Plants are arguably the most important organisms on Earth. They are the base of the food chain, ultimately providing every organism with energy and nutrients. But also they provide the oxygen organisms need to live. Plant conservation is imperative, and exploitation of plants for materials can destroy entire ecosystems.
Alternate leaf pattern – in a leaf, placed at different heights on the axis, on each side in succession, or at definite angular distances from one another
Bipinnately compound – having leaflets or primary divisions arranged on each side of a common stalk which are then arranged on each side of a larger stalk, as in a mimosa tree
Compound leaf – leaf that is divided into two or more distinct leaflets
Dichotomous – two divisions that contradict each other
Lobed leaf – leaves divided into segments with spaces between that do not reach the center
Margin (dendrology) – the edge of the leaf
Pinnately compound leaf – leaflets arranged along the mid-vein such as with the hickory and winged sumac
Serrated leaf – leaf with a bent, saw-like pattern along the edge
Simple leaf – leaf having one blade; or a lobed leaf in which the separate parts do not reach down to the midrib
Venation – arrangement of a vein system, as in an insect's wing or a leaf blade; some leaves have smaller veins branching out from larger ones in a pinnate or palmate pattern, while others have similar-sized veins running parallel along the length of the plant, connected by much smaller cross veins