Woody Plant Identification

Course Overview


This three day course is designed to provide the practical skills needed to identify woody plants, primarily non-gymnosperm species, in the non-leafy, “winter” condition in any geographic location.  The course will be taught via live online instruction. Plant specimens collected by Dr. Thomasson will be shipped to you before the course so you have those for reference. Using specimens provided, participants will learn the necessary vegetative features of the twigs, stems, and bark of woody plants needed to identify species regardless of geographic location. The use of both woody plant technical keys (e.g., floras) and resources on the internet will be taught.  Specimens provided to participants will be used to learn characteristics of woody plants found in both wetland and non-wetland sites.

Participants also receive a course notebook that includes a booklet written by Dr. Thomasson of fully labeled, color images illustrating features of woody plants that are used for identification.  Additional items in your course materials shipment include: dissecting needles, a razor knife, and ruler for use during the class.

This course is intended for participants of all levels, including those without any botanical background. 

20 contact hours. Instructor: Joseph Thomasson


Tuition cost:

Your Course Includes

Woody Plant Specimens

Your instructor will provide woody plant specimens that will assist you in learning woody plant features during live online instructions and dissections. Specimens are yours to keep as a tool for continued study.

Class Notebook

All participants receive a class notebook that includes a booklet of color labeled images illustrating features of woody plants in “winter” condtion as well as several written exercises, including keys, to help participants identify woody plants in non-leafy condition.

Instructor interaction

Live dissection  of specimens online will provide participants with ample opportunity to ask questions about woody plant features.

Frequently asked Questions

Where is the specific location or venue for the course?

This course will take place ONLINE via live instruction.

Does this course have any certificates?

You will receive a certificate of completion with instructional contact hours documented once you have completed all course requirements (i.e. online lectures, field practicum, discussion forum participation).

Register Now by Course Location

Date and Location for Woody Plant Identification:

Dates Location Register by Location
April 3 – 5, 2024 Online (live instruction via ZOOM) REGISTER NOW


What our participants say…

“This course will be very helpful to my job, especially during early spring wetland delineations. Dr. Thomasson is a knowledgeable and passionate instructor.”

“I enjoyed everything. The course contains valuable information and is presented well. The content is beneficial and the instructor is very personable and knowledgeable.”

“Dr. Thomasson’s Woody Plant ID course was very thorough. I learned more than I could have imagined in a couple days and look forward to using my new found knowledge this field season!”


Dr. Joseph Thomasson is curator emeritus of the herbarium at the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, KS, and has taught plant identification courses for WTI since 2011. He has taught university courses in agrostology, dendrology and plant taxonomy for more than 30 years, and has conducted plant surveys for many government agencies and private companies.

Get Started Now

Select location above and click on “REGISTER NOW” to enroll.