====THE RESULTS ARE IN
We asked you to tell us what interests you have in botany. This was the most diverse group of responses in a long time. Some
people didn't respond, or
answered "none," but many folks listed something. Here is what
you said you wanted
to learn more about:
General/Plants and People.......................3
Collection and Preservation Techniques..........1
Movement in Plants..............................1
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 your TA or Monique.
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--Monique has a huuuuuge bookmark list for horticulture topics. Some are general references and some pertain to specific plants or families: A sampling of what's available:
We will definitely talk about ecology and conservation in this class!
Books--A number of the books listed under "Wildlife" (below) might be of interest. If it is books about the floras of different regions you are interested in, just let us know what part of the country (or world!) you're interested in and we'll point you in the right direction.
In the Field--Learn to look at where you are: what type of ecosystem, what type of land use, etc. In the local environment, you can explore the Post Oak Savannah and Blackland Prairie regimes. You may also find bogs, outcrops, and agricultural areas.
Plant Collection--You might want to collect from one type of habitat that interests you most, or you might want to get plants from as many different ecosystems as possible. If you decided to collect out of state, let us know as soon as possible so we can start tracking down the best flora for you to use for identification.
In Lecture and Lab--Keep your ears perked up, because we will be talking about ecology and floras. When we take the field trip, we'll have a chance to see succession first hand and to explore several distinct ecosystems.
Ecology- and Flora-related Web Sites
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
Books--We have two good sets of books on aquatic and wetland plants (including coastal)--one set for the Southeast,
and one for the Southwest. Both have good illustrations. We also have the Flora of the TX Coastal Bendand Plants of
Southernmost TX, both of which are useful. Correll and Johnston does cover the coast. We also have books on tidal marsh
plants. We have access to some government publications, too. The botany staff has done a lot of bog-trotting in the last couple
of years, so we can be of more help with wetland plants now than ever.
In the Field/Plant Collection--You are welcome to collect aquatic and marine angiosperms. Be aware of two things,
however. 1--There are cultivated plants that occasionally escape along the coast--these may not be keyable. 2--In the damp
environments, things take longer to dry. There are special techniques for collecting floating plants--ask Monique to show you.
In Lecture/Lab--Keep an eye out for families which have aquatic members or which are salt-tolerant or
otherwise adapted to aquatic or marine life.
Aquatic Plant and Water-Gardening Web Sites
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.
Mabberley'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 native medicinal or aromatic 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
An interesting Thesis on folk medicine among native peoples in a remote Oaxacan village
Books--We have two books specifically about wildlife habitats,
the Eastern and Western volumes of Field Guide to
Wildlife Habitats by 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 animal ecology find their way into lecture.
On field trips,
we'll talk a lot about important
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
Websites Related To Wildlife:
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. If Mandy is your TA, ask herabout her experiences in Central America!
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
GENERAL/PLANTS AND PEOPLE
You are going to learn so much general stuff and soooo much plant trivia this semester that you will be amazed. Have a look at Mabberley's The Plant Book--there is something fun on every page. Also try talking to Monique. She is a veritable fountain of bizarre and esoteric information...
If we say something this semester that piques your curiosity, let us know. We'll be glad to steer you in a direction to find out what you need to know.
You might also look into taking Botany 328--Plants and People, offered in the fall semesters and sometimes in the summer.
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
This course will introduce you to various teaching tools--dissection work, field trips, lectures, videos, slides, plant collection, and the Internet. You will also try several types of exams and quizzes. The teaching techniques we use on you this semester may help you define what sort of teaching style you want to adopt.
Books--One of the best all-around books is Imes' Practical Botanist, which is available for you to read in lab. It's still in print, so you may want to invest in a copy.
If you would like to keep your plant collection to start your own teaching collection, you are certainly welcome to do so. You might want to focus on large, common families that will be present wherever you end up teaching.
There are lots of good teaching websites out there. We like to think our Lab Tutorials and our on-line Lecture Notes are good examples. There are also lots of possibilities for interactive web-pages such as the Click-A-Fruit tutorial.
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
This is something Monique has a lot of experience with, unfortunately. This semester, you will learn quite a bit about plants likely to cause allergies--mostly those with wind-pollinated flowers. The spring flora will introduce you to many of them: oak, elm, ryegrass, bluegrass, pecan, amaranth, and goosefoot, to name a few.
The AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants is a good one to read about contact allergies and dermatitis.
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
We will be talking about endemic (found in a small area) rare, threatened, and endangered plants this semester.
Books--We have a nice notebook full of information on the endangered plantspecies in Texas, and can point you toward information on plants of other regions.
In the Field/Plant Collection--There are several very rare plants found locally. You may want to drop by the herbarium and see what they look like before you go out. When you are in the field, do not pick anything you know is rare, and if you're not sure, use the "Rule of 20": if you see 20 of something, then you may have one.
Web Sites About Rare or Endemic Plants
We won't be talking too much about pathology this semester. There are whole courses devoted to the topic. We may, however, see examples of rusts, smuts, bacterial diseases, and what-not on our field trip. In the meantime, you might want to explore what looks like a pretty good Plant Pathology Site on the Web.
COLLECTION AND PRESERVATION TECHNIQUES
Wow! If you are interested in this,you are going to love all the practice you will get. Doing the Plant Collection for this course is first-rate hands-on experience. Your textbook has some good reference material on plant collections, and Missouri Botanical Garden has a very good Field Techniques page. We can also work with you on methods used for tricky plants such as cacti and aquatics.
We won't be talking too much about farming--this course is dedicated primarily to native plants. However, you will learn about families that include major crop plants, such as the Poaceae (grass family) and Fabaceae (bean family.) You'll be exposed to the names and characteristics of lots of human and animal food plants, cover crops, and drug plants. If there is a particular plant you're interested in, talk to Monique or Dr. Wilson. For the collection, we'll want you to collect non-cultivated material, of course, but you might want to look at what occurs spontaneously on abandoned farmland or in fallow fields. A good site to get started web-surfing about Agriculture is the USDA's main page.
Hmm. This is really more a topic for a plant breeding or genetics class. There are some naturally-occuring hybrid plants in the local flora, however. Oaks tend to hybridize freely, as do Asters, and members of the genus Baccharis. For more information about hybrids in a specific group, talk to your TA, Monique, or Dr.Wilson.
MOVEMENTS IN PLANTS
Plant movements are termed tropisms. For example, response to touch is thigmotropism. We won't be studying these per se, but we will be studying plants that demonstrate the phenomenon. Many members of the Legume Family exhibit leaf or leaflet movement--we may be able to observe that in the field, and we will certainly explore the world of carnivorous plants, many of which show movement. You may want to check out the Carnivorous Plant FAQ.
MUSHROOMS AND FUNGI
While the study of mushrooms and other fungi has been traditionally linked with botany, fungi are really no longer considered plants. We won't be dealing with fungi in this course, but we can recommend sources on the subject. For some info on edible mushrooms, you can have a look at The Edible LC.
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Last updated by Monique Dubrule Reed on September 4, 1998