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Continuing Education Programs

  • John B. Nelson Botany Boot Camp

Botany Boot Camp

Course Description

Designed for those interested in learning college-level botany in an informal setting, this course will be comprehensive, featuring a heavy focus on the historic and present-day roles of plant taxonomy. It will also include a broad exposure to the terminology of plant structures, and an overview of the process of the formal naming of plants, that is, with scientific names.

The field trip aspect of this course will bolster the learning of plant terminology, as well as on-site identification of local plant life. 

Expected goals for participants:
  1. Knowledge of plant terminology, and an ability to discuss this using scientific terms.
  2. Understanding of the processes involved during the discovery, description, and publication of new plant species.
  3. Ability to recognize and identify a substantial number of local plants.
Class schedule:
  • April 15: Role of plant taxonomy, overview of the history of plant taxonomy, Linnaeus; terminology of plant parts: vegetative parts (roots, stems, leaves, etc.).
  • April 22: Continued overview of the history of plant taxonomy and local botanists; vegetative parts continued (leaf architecture, plant growth).
  • April 29: Vegetative parts completed; introduction to plant reproduction, alternation of generations.
  • May 6: Flowers and floral biology; selected plant families overview.
  • May 13: Floral biology, fruit types; selected plant families.
  • May 20: Selected plant families.


Field Trip Sites*

  • April 20: Sesquicentennial State Park
  • April 27: Riverfront Park
  • May 4: USC Horseshoe
  • May 11: Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve
  • May 18: Congaree Swamp National Park
  • May 25: Belser Arboretum

*Sites subject to change.


Course Fee - $100


Meet Your Instructor

John Nelson headshot

John B. Nelson, Ph.D.

John B. Nelson, Ph.D., is a Professor Emeritusin the University of South Carolina Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Nelson has investigated the relationships of eastern North American representatives of the genus Stachys, a member of the mint family. Within this group, a number are problematic, forming complicated species groups with overlapping morphologies. Various features of ecological and anatomical specialization have proven useful in understanding this enigmatic group. Both herbarium studies and field work have been crucial to this understanding.


Registration and Fees

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Registration and Payment Notes

If you plan to pay by check or purchase order, select "register by mail." Complete the form and return a printout with payment to: USC Continuing Education and Conferences, Close/Hipp Building at 1705 College Street, Suite 591, Columbia, SC 29208. Your seat is not guaranteed until payment is received.

We accept online payment via electronic check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express through MarketPlace, a secure electronic environment that simplifies business transactions with the university. Follow the MarketPlace prompts to complete payment. Your transaction is only complete when you receive an order number, which is your receipt of payment. Your seat is not guaranteed until payment is received and you receive an order number.

Once you have paid and are enrolled, you'll be emailed location and parking information for face-to-face programs or online instructions about one week before the program begins.

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