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NC State Extension

Online Plant Identification Classes

en Español

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Longwood and NC State

Identifying plants begins by learning their language.

NCSU Department of Horticultural Science is partnering with Longwood Gardens to provide a fully-online introduction to plant identification. These courses will introduce you to the language of botany, plants with global popularity, a few special plants from breeding programs at top horticulture institutions, and cultivation information for key plant species. By learning the fundamental language of botany, testing it with games, and being exposed to a carefully selected cast of plants that exhibit key identification features, participants will be ready to deduce mystery plants anywhere in the world!

We are now offering 2 fully online, asychnchronous, versions of these popular courses: asynchronous online hybrid (self-paced but has live components within a 6-week time frame, and an additional 6 months of access after the course is finished), and asynchronous self-study (completely self-paced with no live components, students have access to materials from when they enroll up until the time the course closes).

The courses feature activities that are crafted to suit a range of learning types, including:

  • photo storiesPhoto story lectures
  • Online fact pages
  • E-book
  • Flashcards
  • Matching games
  • Vocabulary games
  • Hundreds of beautiful images
    Asclepias tuberosa characteristics
  • Mystery plant challenges (hybrid only)
  • Optional quizzes (hybrid only)
  • Illustrated vocabularies
  • Conversation forums (hybrid only)
  • Achievement badges
  • Completion certificates (hybrid only)
  • Access to the instructor (hybrid only)
  • Graded activities and feedback (hybrid only)
  • Site navigation assistance
  • Live sessions with instructor and guest speakers (hybrid only)

These are asynchronous, fully online, self-paced, non-credit courses. You may participate anywhere that you have access to the internet. There are no required presentations or any set times that you will need to meet online.

Requirements

  • Access to the internet
  • Access to a computer or tablet. While it is possible to complete much of the course on a mobile device, some of the course activities will function best using a full web browser on a computer. The course was not designed for use on a mobile phone or other devices with a small screen. A tablet or computer is required for an optimal experience.
  • Google Chrome is recommended for the best functionality.
  • Access to a digital camera (smartphone is fine) to take images to submit as a part of assignments.
  • Access to PowerPoint, Word, or other software that you can use to add labels to images.

Fees per Class

Online Hybrid course:

  • $189 – General Public (early-bird pricing available)
  • $98 – Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers, Extension Master Naturalist volunteers, and volunteers at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Contact your county extension agent or the volunteer director at the arboretum for the discount code. If they do not already have the code ask them to send a request from their work email account to eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu. Once you have the code, register for the class. The very last step before you pay is to apply a discount code. Enter the code in ALL CAPS
  • Extension Professionals:  $59 (send an email to eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu from your work email account to request the discount code).
  • Register now for early access to some of the course material!

Self-Study:

  • $99 – General public
  • $89 – Extension Master Gardener℠ volunteers, Extension Master Naturalist volunteers, and volunteers at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Contact your county extension agent or the volunteer director at the arboretum for the discount code. If they do not already have the code ask them to send a request from their work email account to eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu. Once you have the code, register for the class. The very last step before you pay is to apply a discount code. Enter the code in ALL CAPS

Contact eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu for details.


Courses

Understanding Plants

Cycad

Improve your plant identification skills through a study of leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. Look in detail at the methods and terminology used to describe plants throughout the seasons. Gain an understanding of the botanical system of plant names and how the plant kingdom is organized. This course covers important “groundwork” for anyone hoping to become a better gardener.

This six-week course will be offered in June 2023. Stay tuned for registration info!

More Information

FAQs


Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers:
Identification and Use

flowers

Add a burst of color to your landscape with exciting textures and blooms by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn to recognize and use these garden favorites to enhance your landscape.

This six-week online class will be offered two times in 2022. REGISTER now to get early access to course material.

More Information

FAQs


Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti

Learn the fundamentals of plant ID and houseplant care with an exploration of 50 popular and fascinating houseplants, succulents, and cacti.

This six-week online class will be offered two times in 2022. REGISTER now to get early access to course material.

More Information

FAQs


Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers:
Identification and Use

flowers

Explore the world of traditional woody plants including flowering trees, shrubs, and conifers by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn cultural information about these structural plantings and their use in the landscape.

This six-week online class will be offered twice in 2022. REGISTER now to get early access to course materials.

More Information

FAQs


Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Nuts

Explore the edible side of the landscape with an introduction to vegetables, herbs, fruits, and nuts by examining 50 popular (and delicious) plants that do well across the country.

This six-week online class will be offered twice in 2022. REGISTER now to get early access to course material.

More Information

FAQs


Quotes from Students

“I want you to know how much my enjoyment of gardening has increased because I took both the Annuals and the Trees classes. I have so enjoyed entering the botany world. Now, when I attended other classes and seminars I realize I’m getting much more benefit from them because of that opportunity.”

“Thank you so much! Loved how this course opened my eyes to the natural world around me!”

“Perfect! Just what I was looking for as a Master Gardener volunteer.”

“The course construction was incredible! A great way to delve deeper into the species of particular/common plants. I love working at my own pace.”


Helpful Resources


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