California Native Plant Society

Education Program - Workshops and Professional Training

Introduction to Plant Identification
Eight Common Plant Families of Northern California

Download the print-friendly flyer (pdf) for complete information about this training.

Dates: July 10-12, 2018 (Tuesday - Thursday)
Location: Truckee, CA - Truckee Town Hall & Nearby Field Sites
Instructor: Josie Crawford, Botanist
Registration: $375 CNPS Members / $395 Non-Members

Target Audience: This workshop will be taught at a beginner level and is open to anyone interested in learning or improving their knowledge of plant terminology and the basic characteristics of dominant California plant families, and gaining identification experience with common California plants. Those just entering the world of plant identification will benefit from this in-depth introduction to keying and identifying plants, while those with some prior experience will be able to refresh and hone their skills at a higher level.

Description: This is a 2.5-day introductory workshop. We will review plant structure terminology, then learn the terminology and characteristics of some of the more common California plant families. This knowledge will reduce the amount of time required to key most plants to genus and species. Scientific names will be used throughout the workshop. Emphasis will be given to northern California species; however, information learned in this class will be readily applicable throughout California and the world. The class will include classroom presentations and exercises, with at least a third of the time spent outdoors in the field. Common native species will be covered, including species in mixed conifer and Sierran meadow habitats. Advance materials on plant structure terminology will be provided.

To earn a certificate of completion, participants will need to pass a quiz at the end of the workshop, where they will be expected to use the plant terminology covered, recognize plants learned, and identify the family in which they belong.

Participants will learn:

  • Plant structure terminology
  • How to recognize 8 important families of vascular plants
  • How to identify some of the most common tree, shrub, and herbaceous species, by sight
  • Tips for remembering the differences between similar plant families and species
  • The use of dichotomous identification keys, especially of plant families covered in The Jepson Manual, 2nd Edition
  • Additional resources available to help identify plants




If you have questions about this or any other CNPS workshops, please contact Becky Reilly, CNPS Events Coordinator, at 916-447-2677 x207 or .

View the complete schedule of CNPS Plant Science Workshops


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