====THE RESULTS ARE IN !!===

Spring 1999


We asked you to tell us what interests you have in botany. Some people didn't respond, or answered "none," but many folks listed something. Here is what you said you wanted to learn more about:

Edible Plants/Nutrition/Survival Foods..........9  

Taxonomy/Identification/Nomenclature/Origins....7

Ornamentals/Houseplants/Landscape/Gardening.....5

Ecology/Conservation/Endangered Species.........4

Medicinal Plants/Herbs/Homeopathy/Aromatherapy..4

Wildlife Habitats/Foods.........................4  

Poisonous Plants/Toxicology.....................2

Tropical/Rainforest Plants......................2

General/Plants and People.......................2 
                                   
Native Plants/Local Flora.......................2 

Desert plants/Cacti.............................2

Fire in the Landscape...........................1

Carnivorous Plants..............................1

Orchids.........................................1

Forests of the Rocky Mountains..................1

Climbing Trees..................................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 willing to 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.


EDIBLE PLANTS/NUTRITION

    Books--One of the best for Texas is Tull's A Practical Guide to Edible and Useful Plants. 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 notes!!!
    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 edible.
    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 recipe...
Other Links

TAXONOMY/PLANT IDENTIFICATION/NOMENCLATURE/ORIGINS

Boy, are you in luck! This is the main thing we deal with--What is that plant? How can I tell it from all the others? Where else does it grow? 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. We will also talk about the origins and distributions of plants--which ones are cosmopolitan, which strictly New World, which Old World, etc.

    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, the better you will be at keying. Eventually, you will develop a feel for plants that helps as much as technical knowledge.
    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.


ORNAMENTALS/ HOUSEPLANTS/LANDSCAPES/GARDENS

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 questions...

    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, roses, 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 plants.

    Plant Collection--Cultivated plants are not allowed, but you might want to make a collection of wild relatives of garden plants or a collection of plants you would want in a landscape.

    In Lecture and Lab--Again, learn the families. Each time in lab, you will find a marked 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.

ECOLOGY/HABITATS/CONSERVATION/ENDANGERED SPECIES

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.


MEDICINAL PLANTS/HERBS/HOMEOPATHY/AROMATHERAPY

Dr. Manhart has included some information on medicinal plants in his lectures, and there is some in your text. In addition:
    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 properties.


WILDLIFE HABITATS/FOODS

    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 about.
    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 questions!

POISONOUS PLANTS


    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


TROPICAL/RAINFOREST PLANTS

    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 John is your TA, ask him about his 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.

NATIVE PLANTS/LOCAL FLORA

    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 up.


DESERT PLANTS/CACTI

    Books--We have Trees and Shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas, Vines' Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of the Southwest , and a beautiful book on trees and shrubs of the U.S. southwest. The library has Benson's monumental work on cacti, as well as a nice two-volume flora of New Mexico, including desert areas. There are also good floras for Arizona and Utah.

    In the Field-- Be on the lookout for common desert plant families, many of which we will cover in lecture. Since many desert plants are rare, learn about rare and endangered species before you go, so you know which to avoid collecting.

    Plant Collection--If you collect desert plants for this course, remember that succulent plants take a little longer to dry. Monique can recommend hints for dealing with cacti and other stubborn plants.


FIRE IN THE LANDSCAPE
Fire can destroy a landscape--or it can be the force that shapes a particular vegetation type. For example, our local savannahs require periodic burning to keep them open (something they very seldom get!) There is a lot of research being done these days on both controlling wildfire and controlled wildfires.


CARNIVOROUS PLANTS

ORCHIDS
    In lecture, Dr. Manhart will work his way around to the orchids by the end of the semester. They're highly advanced, so they come last in our roughly-phylogenetic sequence of lectures.

    In lab , we will be looking at orchids during the last dissection lab. The local orchids bloom primarily in fall, but you may find some of the spring-flowering Spiranthes while working on your plant collection.

    Plant Collection--Please remember that most orchids are not plentiful. If you want to collect an orchid, please determine beforehand that it is not rare or endangered.

    You can get a look at a fantastic array of cultivated orchids at the local La Selva greenhouse, located on Hwy 30.

    Web sites related to Orchids

FORESTS OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS
CLIMBING TREES


Return to BOTN 301 Homepage

Last updated by Monique Dubrule Reed on January 28, 1999