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After following a course in Permaculture, I realised that if I want to get serious about it, I need to be able to distinguish plants. So I am looking for an online Video course on Plant Taxonomy and Physiology. My understanding is that it is a fairly standard course in basic Botany degrees, and since there are more and more school that put their material online it is quite possible that one of them might have placed this online too. Any suggestion?

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these are traditionally taught separately, unless the class were to address the relationship between these topics. – David LeBauer Jun 4 '12 at 2:51
What other science courses have you taken? What are your goals? It sounds like a general botany course that touches on these subjects would be a good place to start. – David LeBauer Jun 5 '12 at 5:45
I don't think you're likely to find a good online course in taxonomy - you will be able to find the basics (mentioning mono/dicots and key families). I might make a quick guide as a blog post (but it will have to wait a couple of weeks until I have more time). As for plant physiology, your best best is to read a good text book. I strongly recommend Plant Biology by Smith et al. (2009). Before going into plant physiology you will need a grounding in biology. As David already asked, what's your background? – Richard Smith-Unna Jul 6 '12 at 7:45
Thanks for your answers. I have a degree in math, a Master in IT and a PhD in systems biology. Yet none of this was of any use respect to actual recognizing plants. Yes, books can help but I have several books but they never helped much. On this topic (and I stress that on other topics is different) it looks like I absorb more from seeing things than from reading about them. – Pietro Speroni Jul 22 '12 at 9:25

Well, I wasn't able to find an online video course. The closest I came was this site, which links to courses that put their material online. Most of these are compilations of the lecture notes. There's also this page from the University of British Columbia, that has a nice little overview of the field of plant taxonomy.

In my experience, botany and plant identification are subjects where one really needs to learn by doing. You really need to grab a plant and take a close look at it while noting why its in the group that its in. A great way to get started might be to join a local gardening club or native plant society. The people in those groups can provide their tips for ID-ing plants.

One of the primary skills you'll want to learn is identifying what family a plant is in. Plant families have (mostly) consistent characters, and learning how to spot the most common families in your area will be a big help.

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I don't know of video course, but here are two book recommendations:

First, Botany in a Day by Elpel is superb in terms of being an approachable, systematic look at plant identification and basic botanical knowledge.

Second, as I mentioned in this answer, the Botany Coloring Book is a great resource for basic self-education on botany / plant anatomy.

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