Dr. John B. Nelson, Instructor
CLS 208 777-8196 (Home 252-1417)
Office hours: Tuesday 8 am - 9 am,
or by appointment

Class meeting times: TUESDAY 11:00am-4:30pm, THURSDAY 11:00am-12:15pm

Required materials:
  1. For every classroom meeting: Radford, A. E., H. E. Ahles, and C. R. Bell. 1968. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: UNC Press.
  2. For every classroom meeting: Walters, D. R. and D. J. Keil. 1996. Vascular Plant Taxonomy. 4th Ed. Dubuque: Kendall/Hunt.
  3. Strongly recommended: A hand lens (10X is satisfactory), available from the bookstore; better ones may be ordered through a forestry-supply dealer.
This is an introductory plant taxonomy course, involving substantial field work. Successful participants in this course will have attained:
  1. Knowledge of names and the field identification of the local vascular flora.
  2. Knowledge of botanical terminology and principles of plant taxonomy.
  3. Ability to identify plants using technical keys.
  4. Understanding of the role of taxonomy in modern biology.
Course grade determination:
Average of lecture quizzes (one every lecture):100 points.
Average of field quizzes (one every field trip):100 points.
Completed plant collection:100 points.
Mid term test:100 points.
Comprehensive Final exam:150 points.

550 points total


90-100 (495+ points) . . . . . . . . . A
86-89 (473 points) . . . . . . . . . . . B+
80-85 (440 points) . . . . . . . . . . . B
76-79 (418 points) . . . . . . . . . . . C+
70-75 (385 points) . . . . . . . . . . . C
66-69 (363 points) . . . . . . . . . . . D+
60-65 (330 points) . . . . . . . . . . . D
< 59 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F

In cases of borderline grade percentages, your attendance and punctuality will be used to determine your final grade. USC policy allows for grade reduction to be enforced if 10% or more of scheduled class meetings are missed. There will be no extra credit possibilities.

CELL PHONE POLICY: the use of cell phones and any other electronic devices, except small tape recorders, is absolutely forbidden in all lectures and field trips. Habitual offenders may expect a grade reduction at the discretion of the instructor, as approved by the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

FIELD TRIPS. Please be prompt for field trips. The timing of field trips involves a return to campus by 430pm; every effort will be made to adhere to this. As the field trips obviously involve the outdoors, please PLAN to get dirty, as WE WILL end up in wet, muddy, messy, fire-ant-and-other-insect-filled, etc. places from time to time. Suitable field attire includes anything you wish to wear, but remember that we are often traveling through heavy brush (and stickers). Warning: shorts are NOT RECOMMENDED. While sandals and flip-flops are stylish and appropriate in many settings, they are not suitable on our field trips: PLEASE WEAR BOOTS OR TENNIS SHOES!

Important dates (field trip sites are subject to modification):

August 24, TCampus field trip (last part of class)
August 31, TFIELD TRIP: Peachtree Rock Preserve (Lexington County)
September 14, TFIELD TRIP: Congaree Swamp National Park (Richland County)
September 28, TFIELD TRIP: Riverfront Park/Congaree Riverwalk (Richland County)
September 30, ThNo class meeting
October 2-3, Sat-SunOvernight field trip, Table Rock State Park (Pickens County)
October 5, TFIELD TRIP: Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve (Calhoun County)
October 12, TMid-term exam
October 14-15, Th-FFall break, no classes
October 19, TFIELD TRIP: Poinsett State Park (Sumter County)
October 25, MFirst 25 plant specimens, WITH LABELS, due
October 26, TFIELD TRIP: Savage Bay Heritage Preserve (Kershaw County)
November 2, TElection day, no classes
November 9, TFIELD TRIP, TBA
November 24-26Holiday, no classes
December 2, ThLast class meeting
December 6, MLast day to turn in final plant collection WITH LABELS
December 10, FFINAL EXAM 2:00pm

Recommendations for insuring your success in this course:

  1. Attend EVERY lecture and field trip. Remember that there is a quiz in EVERY class meeting, both in lectures and on field trips!
  2. Strive early on to master keying out plants by yourself...that is, without the help of others.
  3. Make connections between the genera you learn and the FAMILIES to which they belong.
  4. Make every attempt to practice keying out plants away from the classroom.
  5. Prepare a scrapbook of plant fragments (that is, a leaf collection) for your own reference.
    Fragments can be collected during each field trip we take, as well as any you take by yourself.
    This will be highly valuable for studying and as a reference source. Note that this is completely optional.
  6. Start your assigned plant collection as early as possible: do not wait until the end of the semester!