BOT 501

Botany and Plant Identification for the Holistic Practitioner Online
Holistic Medicine

This graduate level course explores plant anatomy, plant physiology, herbal ecology including ethical wildcrafting and harvesting concepts, and field identification.

With a particular emphasis on the practical use of medicinal plants, the fields of taxonomy (classification), genetics and evolution, anatomy and function of cells and plant parts, energy metabolism of photosynthesis and respiration, and the biochemical pathways producing medicinal compounds are examined.

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Graduates will be expected to:

  • Demonstrate a strong theoretical understanding of botany including the terminology used for plant identification, comparing and contrasting the different structures of leaves, flowers, stems, and roots used to distinguish species from one another;
  • Employ botanical theory to complete projects, practical experiments, and labs, including traditional mnemonics and the ‘doctrine of signatures’, integrated with contemporary methods of reliable plant identification; and
  • Critically evaluate various concepts, approaches, methods, and issues in the field. Field exercises will be presented so that the student can acquire practical experience. Students will also formulate a botanical experiment to prove a hypothesis of their design, analyze their results and present them in a format recognized by the biological science communities.

Upon successful completion of this course, each student will have:

  • A strong theoretical understanding of botany, including the basic principles of plant science that are applicable to botanical medicine, herbal product manufacture, and quality control; the fundamental processes and energetics of plant metabolism and how these relate to the biosynthesis of medicinally active compounds; basic genetic principles, and how plant genetics influences the potency and variability of medicinal plants; as measured by objective examinations, essay examinations, peer reviewed projects, application of principles to case studies and projects.
  • A solid knowledge base of botany, with the capacity to distinguish, compare and contrast the structure and function of plant cells; the effects of ecology and growing conditions on plant anatomy and constituents including influences from fungi, bacteria, and viruses; the meaning and origin of terms relating to plant anatomy, plant physiology, and field identification; as measured by objective examinations, essay examinations, peer reviewed projects, application of principles to case studies and projects.
  • The ability to critically evaluate and critique various concepts, approaches, methods and issues in the field of botany as it applies to CAM, particularly the relevance and application of botanical knowledge to the cultivation and harvesting of medicinal plants, herbal product production, clinical practice, and educational programs; the ability to critically assess basic and clinical scientific studies examining botany, as measured by essay examinations, peer reviewed projects, application of principles to case studies and projects.
  • The ability to apply a visual method for comprehending plant morphology (form) and differentiate, compare, and contrast distinguishing characteristics, as measured by essay examinations, and application of principles to projects and labs.
  • The ability to evaluate and accurately identify, differentiate, compare, and contrast plants in any environment using keys, field guides, organoleptic methods, and traditional mnemonics, as demonstrated by essay examinations, projects, and labs.
  • The ability to locate and evaluate botanical information and plant identification sites on the Internet, and to apply these to plants in the student's environment as demonstrated by objective examinations, essay examinations, projects, and labs.
  • Propose a hypothesis, design a study, complete an experiment using the scientific method, and compose the analysis in a format used by scientific research journals.
Maximum Enrollment: 20 students

Required Materials (Course Pack)

The Required Materials cost (Course Pack)—including standard shipping within the United States—is $124. This includes:

  • Online Materials and Library Resources (OMLR) $100
The Required Publisher Textbooks*:

Total Course Price: $1425 (3 credits x $475 per credit) + $124 Course Pack + $312.95 Textbooks = $1861.95

Does not include Registration Fee, which is $200 per program or $30 per credit if enrolling in single courses.

* You may always elect to buy or rent your textbooks/ebooks new or used. However, when choosing to purchase college textbooks and supplementary materials outside the College store, please use caution to ensure you purchase the correct version of required materials.

** This textbook is also available as a Kindle eBook from

Tuition Includes:

  • Expert faculty with real-world clinical experience in each course
  • All instruction and evaluation, including weekly interaction with your instructor through the online classroom, live teleconferences and/or chats, email, and the Instructor’s Virtual Office
  • Dynamic online lectures updated regularly to include the latest evidence-based research and industry updates
  • Bonus: Access to the ACHS Wellness Guide Online.
Optional Recommended Reading
Click here to view the Recommended Reading for this course.
Last updated 03/11/16