PLNT2204 Plant Diversity and Evolution

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Botany major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit provides an introduction to the incredible diversity of the land plants emphasising the flora of Western Australia. Students are provided with a fundamental knowledge of plant systematics regarding taxonomy, classification, plant morphology, practical plant uses and phylogenetic study. The unit is designed to incorporate both new and traditional methods to provide a foundation in the study of the diversity of plants from a phylogenetic perspective. All major groups of plants (from Glaucocystis to angiosperms) are introduced with an emphasis on the most common plant groups found in the Western Australian flora. The theory and practical use of phylogeny are applied directly to the plant groups studied in the unit. Practicals include living and herbarium specimens for first-hand examples of the plant groups and their characteristics.
Students are able to (1) identify and understand the diversity of the major groups of land plants in a phylogenetic context; (2) understand the importance of phylogeny in modern day plant classification; (3) understand and use plant morphology in the context of plant taxonomy and classification; (4) gain field experience of many of the angiosperm families and some genera common to Australia; and (5) use their skills to identify plants of Western Australia.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a practical test; (2) assignments; and (3) a written examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Karen Bell & Dr Pieter Poot
Unit rules
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology (formerly BIOL1130 Core Concepts in Biology)
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week; practicals: 3 hour per week; field trip: one day

Majer, S and Burrows, G. Botanical Field Guide: Aracaria Guides, Mullumbimby, NSW, 2011.


Harris, J. G. and Woolf-Harris, M. Plant Identification Terminology: an Illustrated Glossary: Spring Lake Publishing 1994

Simpson, M. G. Plant Systematics: Elsevier Academic Press 2006

Barrett, R. and Tay, E. P. Perth Plants: a Field Guide to the Bushland and Coastal Flora of Kings Park and Bold Park, Perth, Western Australia: Botanical Gardens and Parks Authority 2005

Other local plant identification guides will be useful, For example:

Blackall, W. E. and Grieve, B. J. How to Know Western Australian Wildflowers, parts 1 to 5: UWA Press 1980

Corrick, M. G. et al. Wildflowers of Southern Western Australia: The Five Mile Press 1996

    Marshall, J. Wildflowers of the West Coast Hills Region: Quality Publishing 1995

Thiele, K. R. and Adams L. G. Families of Flowering Plants of Australia: an Interactive Identification Guide, rev.: Australian Biological Resources Study/CSIRO Publishing 2002 (CD-ROM)

Wheeler, J. et al. Flora of the South West, parts 1 and 2: UWA Press 2002

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.