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Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers

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Identification and Use: Online Self-Study Course

Longwood Gardens, one of the premier public gardens in the world, partnered with the NC State University Department of Horticultural Science to provide this fully online introduction to plants.

REGISTER for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers Self-Study Course

About the Class

Acer palmatum leaf characteristics

Image by Wendy Schleicher

Have you ever been on a walk and wondered what a certain tree was? Perhaps you have a shrub in your yard but don’t know what it is? Maybe you want to understand the difference between a pine, a spruce, or a cedar. We’ve selected 45 popular species of trees, shrubs, and conifers commonly seen in the landscape to help you build your ID skills and botanical vocabulary. Soon, you’ll say, “I know that one!” when walking in your neighborhood or hiking in the forest. This class will also teach you about living fossils, conifers that lose their leaves in the fall, and trees with knees! Take the skills you learn through photo stories, Longwood Gardens Plant Fact pages, and hundreds of beautiful images and apply them to plants you encounter outside the class.

This is a fully online, self-paced, non-credit course. You can participate anywhere that you have access to the internet. You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for 12 months after registering. There are no required presentations or set times you will need to meet online. We recommend accessing the course via Google Chrome on a computer or tablet for the best functionality.

Please note that no completion certificates are offered for the self-study classes, and no credit is given toward Longwood’s certifications.


  • $99 General Public
  • $89 Master Gardeners, JCRA Volunteers, and Extension Professionals with discount code. Volunteers obtain the discount code from your volunteer coordinator. Extension Professionals email from your work email account to obtain a discount code.
  • REGISTER for Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers Self-Study Course

This is one of four plant ID courses, each focused on different plant groupings that include some favorites and a few introductions from the research and breeding programs at Longwood Gardens and North Carolina State University. Below are links to the other classes in the series, and Understanding Plants, an introduction to botany.

Additional Information