In winter, when there are very few flowers around and most of our native plants have lost their leaves, it is a wonderful opportunity to focus our attention on the conifers – most of which are evergreen and still bear cones. The British flora is remarkably poor in diversity of native conifers, but many introduced species form a major feature in our landscape. And here in the Cambridge University Botanic Garden we are fortunate to have the opportunity to study a fine collection of this magnificent group of trees.
The first day will be spent mostly in the classroom considering the key features of the different families and genera of conifers and how we might begin to separate the different species. Some specimens of different cones and foliage will be available here for study.
On the second day we shall explore the Garden. This will be an opportunity to consolidate what we covered in the classroom. You will build confidence in field recognition of the major genera and practice looking for appropriate features to confirm the species. We shall focus chiefly on those conifers that are most commonly found in Britain but, at the risk of overwhelming beginners, we shall not ignore at least some of the unusual and uncommon members of this wonderful group of plants.
This course is suitable for beginners, including more experienced botanists who have not yet tackled conifers (or tried and failed!) and all those who love trees. No previous knowledge is assumed.
What to bring:
- A hand-lens (x10). These can be borrowed or purchased (at £8.75)
- Binoculars and camera if you have them
- Picnic lunch though this is available from the Garden Café
- WARM clothing plus waterproofs, wellingtons, stout shoes or boots
- Pen, pencils and notebook
Stace C. New Flora of the British Isles CUP Cambridge (preferably the fourth edition)
You may also like to bring your favourite illustrated field guide of our native flora. e.g.
Collins Tree Guide by More and Johnson (Collins)
The Pocket Guide to Trees (Mitchell Beazley) or any other picture guide to trees that you are accustomed to using
British Trees: A photographic guide to every common species by Sterry (Collins)
Ros Bennett is a freelance botanist and ecologist. She has been teaching courses on plant identification to professionals, amateurs, and beginners from all age groups for over 40 years, both at home and abroad.
Bookings for this course will close 13 November
Please take the time to read our course cancellations and refunds policy.