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Understanding Plants

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Introduction to Botany, an Online Self-Study Course

Longwood Gardens & NC State Logo

Image by Longwood Gardens

Longwood Gardens, one of the premier public gardens in the world, is partnered with NC State University Department of Horticultural Science to providethis fully-online introduction to botany.

About the Class

Have you ever wondered what phrases such as “dentate margin” or “palmately compound” mean? Or have you ever been curious about the Latin meaning of plant names? Improve your botanical skills by studying leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, and nomenclature. Look at the methods, morphology, and terminology used to describe plants throughout the seasons. Understand how the plant kingdom is organized and named. This course covers important “groundwork” for anyone hoping to become a better botanist.

Learn the vocabulary of botany on your own schedule! Lecture videos with Longwood staff, flashcards, vocabulary games, and hundreds of beautiful images will help you learn to describe flowers, leaves, stems, fruits, and more. 

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 one year after you register. There are no required presentations or set times you will need to meet online. 

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


  • $__ General Public
  • $__ 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 Understanding Plants Self-Study Course

There are also four courses on plant identification from Longwood Gardens and North Carolina State University. Below are links to the other classes in the series:

Additional Information