Student Int Poll - Fall, 1995
====THE RESULTS ARE IN
We asked you to tell us what interests you have in botany. Some
people didn't respond, or
answered "general" or "none," but most folks listed something. Here is what
you said you wanted
to learn more about:
Native plants/Regional Floras...........................6
We can recommend books and techniques that can help you learn more about these things within
the BOTN 201 context. What you get out of this course depends on how much you are
put in. We'll be glad to help you however we can.
Most books mentioned on this page are ones we have. We can also recommend others
the library might have. Just ask Monique.
Books--We have two books specifically about wildlife habitats,
the Eastern and Western volumes of Field Guide to
Wildlife Habitatsby Benyus. Try Imes' The Practical Botanist for
an overview of plants in the environment and different types
of habitats. In addition, many of the keys and manuals have notes about each plant's usefulness
to wildlife. For example,
Elias' The Complete Trees of North America goes into great detail, Correll & Johnston's
Manual of the Vascular Plants of
Texas often has info, and Monique's black key also includes wildlife food uses. In addition,
we have several general books
on ecology and plant habitats.
In the Field--Pay attention to what animals eat and
where they live. Collect and identify samples of plants that they
use. Visit and study the habitats and ecosystems that interest you most. Be curious. Take notes,
draw, collect, take photos.
You may want to look into Outdoor Rec trips or go somewhere neat to collect. Whenever
possible, go out in the field with
someone who knows the environment and ask lots of questions.
Plant Collection--You might want to make your collection from just one or two
locations that represent ecosystems
you want to know more about. Conversely, you might want to make it as broadly-based as
possible. Either way, look at what's
around you when you're out collecting. If you are interested in wildlife, you can try 1) collecting
plants that you know are used
by wildlife and 2) reading to determine if other plants you collect have uses you didn't know
In Lab and Lecture--Listen. Little bits about ecology find their way into lecture.
On field trips,
we'll talk a lot about
different plant communities and ecosystems. Learn about the major families and what their
presence tells you about a habitat
or community. When we go on field trips, we will mention some plants that animals eat (such as
grapes, acorns, hawthorn
fruits, etc.), and we will talk about what animals can be found locally. Ask
Dr. Wilson has included some information on medicinal plants in his lectures, and there is some in
your text. In
Books--Check out the AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants.
Many plant poisons are also medicines.
Mabberly's Plant Book has lots of notes about medicinal uses. Many floras and manuals
mention medicinal uses for plants.
Tull's A Practical Guide to Edible and Useful Plants has good info. We now have
Kindscher's Medicinal Wild Plants of the
Prairie, which focuses on Native American uses of prairie plants. There is lots of
information out there; you will have to
examine it carefully as not all of it is trustworthy.
In the Field--Look for plants that you know have medicinal value. Learn which ones
grow where. But please, DON'T
dabble in herbal remedies unless you really know what you're doing...
Plant Collection--You might want to put together a collection of medicinal plants, or
else focus on discovering what
uses there might be for whatever plants you collect.
In Lab and Lecture--Make an effort to learn about and learn to recognize the
families that tend to have medicinal
Web sites related to Plant Medicines
Herbal Hall--A Discussion
group for professional herbalists.
Books--The biggie: AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants. Also look at Tull's Practical Guide to
Edible and Useful Plants--it has a section on poisonous plants. Most manuals and floras will list information about
poisonous properties for plants. Books on edible plants will let you know what is safe.
In the Field--Learn to recognize our local poisonous plants. Practice sight-identifying families that have many
poisonous members. Avoid eating wild plants unless you KNOW what they are...
Plant Collection--It would be interesting to make a collection of just poisonous plants. Or you might work at
determining any poisonous properties of whatever plants you do collect.
In Lecture and Lab--We'll discuss poisonous plants and families which have many poisonous members. On the
field trip, we will talk about what to eat and what not to eat.
Web sites related to Poisonous Plants
Books--One of the best for Texas is Tull's A Practical Guide to Edible and
We also have Kindscher's Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie and the Medves' Edible
Wild Plants of Pennsylvania.
In addition, many keys and manuals have information about edibility listed for each plant. You
may also want to look at the
AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants to learn what not to eat.
In the Field--Be on the lookout for edible plants. Please eat only what
you KNOW is safe and can positively identify.
Don't try too many new things at once. If something is rare, don't harvest too much. Keep
Plant Collection--It would be a challenge to make a collection of only edible plants,
but it could be done and probably
would be fun. Or, you might want to concentrate on learning if any of the plants you collect are
In Lecture and Lab--In lecture, much will be made of the major food families. On
the lab field trips,
we will look
at (and try!) some of the local wild edibles. Ask lots of questions--and get
Monique's Rumex soup
While the focus of this course is wild plants, learning about plant families will help you,
because wild and cultivated members of a family are similar in structure and often in preference
for growing conditions. Monique has a degree in Floriculture, so you can ask her lots of
Books --We have Hortus III and Tropica. In the lab, we have
Botany for Gardeners.
Monique also has a ton of books and magazines on gardening, ornamentals, veggies,
landscape design, etc. Just mention what you want, and she'll recommend something... We also
have information about growing many natives in the landscape.
In the Field--Practice sight-identification of families. This will help you learn to recognize
plants in gardens, nurseries, etc. Watch for native plants that might make good landscape
Plant Collection--Cultivated plants are not allowed, but you might want to
collection of wild relatives of garden plants or a collection of plants you would want in a
In Lecture and Lab--Again, learn the families. Each time in lab, you will find a
nursery catalog featuring cultivated members of the families we study. We will also bring in
cultivated plants to show family features. On field trips, we'll talk about
which native plants can
be adapted for home landscapes.
Garden-related Web sites--A sampling of what's available:
on garden plants and native plants--also a periodic plant trivia contest.
Boy, are you in luck! This is the main thing we deal with. The whole lab and lecture are geared
toward giving an
understanding of the major families and their distinguishing features. Just by staying awake in
class, you should learn plenty.
Books--We have manuals and floras that cover the whole state and
many parts of the U.S. These will help you identify
plants. We also have picture books which will give you an idea of what's out there in a
non-scientific way. If it's classical
taxonomy and learning how to identify plants you want, we have good books on those,
too. Just tell Monique what you want,
and she can steer you in the right direction.
In the Field--Practice sight-identification of major families and genera. Quiz
yourself and your friends. Try to
botanize in as many different places as possible. Make notes, take pictures, draw. Bring back
unknowns to identify.
Plant Collection--You can either collect the unknown plants you want to identify
or put together
a collection of plants that you have learned to identify. Either way, the more you collect and key,
better you will be at keying. Eventually, you will develop a feel for plants that helps as
In Lab --Really study and learn the key characters for families and genera.
Practice with keys.
Work on getting that "feel" for what's what. Make good use of the lab space and books available.
Taxonomy-related Web sites:
NATIVE PLANTS/REGIONAL FLORAS
Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum
Books--We have a good collection of books on Texas plants--some are picture
books and some are technical keys. We either have or can recommend some good regional floras. For example, Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country by Marshall Enquist is a good reference. We have several books on south Texas plants, prairie plants, and native grasses. Have a look in the lab book cabinet. Monique has lots
of info on growing
wildflowers and using native plants in the landscape.
In the Field--Practice identifying what you see. Take notes, draw, take pictures,
bring things in to identify. Visit
as many different habitats as possible and learn what's in them.
Plant Collection--Whatever you collect and key will teach you something. There is
so much out there that you might
want to focus on the plants that interest you most.
In Lecture and Lab--Stay awake! You can learn a lot just from the examples.
Many of our lecture examples and quite
a lot of our lab dissection materials are native plants. Key quizzes will be fresh, local
material--usually wild. The field trips
will be all about local wildflowers and plants. This is where the knowledge can really add
Web sites related to Native Plants
We will certainly talk about crop plants that belong to the families we study.
Books--Check out Cornucopia. It is good discussion of various
cultivars. We also have some books on range plants and weed
plants--this ties in with crop plants.
In the Field and Plant Collection--Since your collection is to
be of wild plants, you might want to study and make a collection of
weed species that share habitat with crops that interest you.
Alternatively, you could try to collect wild relatives of crops.
Web sites related to Agriculture and Agronomy
In lecture, Dr. Wilson will be discussing carnivorous plants
and how they trap food.
In lab, we will get a chance to see some
Plant Collection--If you collect carnivorous plants, please be
conservation-minded. Some species are threatened because of over-
Web sites related to Carnivorous Plants
Nepenthes Page--Slow-loading, but full of good info and images (the first image seems to be what slows things down--try hitting "stop" after you have given it a while to load)
This is more the topic for a course in genetics or plant
breeding. In lecture, Dr. Wilson will mention a few plants which
have unusual methods of pollination and reproduction. If there is
a particular group of plants you are interested in (roses,
potatoes, oaks, etc...) Monique can help you find books or articles
about breeding work with that group. (For example, a recent issue
of Smithsonian had a great article about breeding native species of
Penstemon for use as landscape plants.)
Web sites related to Plant Genetics
Books--We have North American Range Plants, a good guide to some of
the more important plants. Some of the keys,
such as the Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas and Grasses of Texas have
information about livestock uses for each plant.
One of our weed books goes into detail about which plants are harmful or useful for stock and
which plants will take over and
ruin a good pasture.
In the Field--Watch what stock eat, and what they avoid. Make notes, draw, take
pictures. Practice sight-identifying
important range plant families such as grasses and legumes. Bring unknowns back to the lab to
Plant Collection--You might want to make a collection of just range plants--useful or
harmful. Collect plants that
In Lecture and Lab-Pay special attention to important families like grasses and legumes.
On the field trip,
see and talk about what happens to overgrazed pastures and how ungrazed pastures go back to
prairie and forest.
Web sites related to Livestock and Range Plants
Cactus and Succulent Plant Mall--a menu of more links
We won't be talking about these per se, but we will certainly
be discussing families that have cosmetically useful plants. Keep
your ears open.
Books--Delena Tull's A Practical Guide to Edible and Useful
Plants has some information about Texas plants that can be used as
hair dyes, etc. Monique has several herb books that are full of
recipes for cosmetics.
Web sites related to Cosmetics--There are tons of sites featuring herbal
and cosmetic concoctions--look under health and beauty or personal care products
with one of the web search engines. Perhaps not all the
information is trustworthy!!
Books--We have no lack of books with beautiful photographs.
Perhaps the best example is Marshall Enquist's Wildflowers of the
Texas Hill Country. His technique is terrific. Imes' The Practical Botanist offers some good advice and tips on
In Lab and Lecture--Take a look at what Dr. Wilson and Dr. Manhart have done. Over the years they have experimented and
improved their techniques. They can give you tips about slide photography and video.
The Plant Collection--While you are out collecting plants,
you'll have plenty of opportunity to shoot pictures of what you
pick. Study botany and photography at the same time!
Web sites related to Plant Photography--Check out the photo art in the Botany 201
Image Gallery. If you see something you like, ask--we can tell you
how the source image was made.
This is really the province of Plant Physiology rather than
Taxonomy, but we will be talking a little about the chemistry of
families, genera, and species. Most of the active chemicals are
manufactured "on purpose" by the plant, but some are byproducts of
metabolism. A little research on your part will uncover what you
want to know.
Web sites related to Plant Physiology
Rest assured that before we give you a plant press and send
you out to collect we will teach you to recognize this plant (if
you don't already!)
In the Field--Rubber boots, long pants, and long sleeves can
keep you from getting poison ivy. Remember that you can get poison
ivy from dogs, clothes, backpacks--or anything else that has picked
up a load of the irritant oil.
We probably won't be talking much about this, though we will
look at some lichens (a symbiotic combination of fungus and alga)
on the field trip. We will be talking some about plant
interactions and plant community structure. If you ask her,
Monique can point you to material on symbiotic relationships
between bacteria and legumes or trees and mycorrhizal fungi and so
Books--Most of our library deals with Texas plants, but we can
certainly recommend books about tropical plants. Tropica is a huge
book full of pictures of exotics. We also have a book full of
unusual fruit. We can certainly steer you to other sources on
tropical and rainforest plants.
In Lab and Lecture--We will be studying families that have
members in the tropics. What you learn in class will help you
understand tropical plants to some extent.
The Plant Collection--You might want to collect plants from
families that have many tropical members. If you are lucky enough
to get to collect in the tropics, be sure to let us know ahead of
time so that we can help you dig up the references you'll need.
Web sites related to Tropical Botany
While we don't have material specifically on this topic, in
this course you can learn about plants that are wildlife foods.
You can also use our resources to learn more about plants you know
are used in zoos. We also have lots of material on things you
wouldn't want to use--poisonous plants, etc. Just ask.
Web sites related to Zoos
A Zoo Index Page
Return to BOTN 201
Last updated by Monique Dubrule Reed on 13 Octber 1995