The Science and Art of Botany

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About Course

This course loosely follows the standard botany order from fifth grade Waldorf curriculums but students do not need to use a waldorf curriculum to enroll in this course. This course is for any student who is interested in learning a brief overview of botany and how to illustrate a variety of plants. While it is geared towards 10-13 year olds, older students will find it informative as well.

This course is broken into 12 lessons with lesson 1 being an introduction to drawing which will build a foundation of drawing techniques that will be used throughout the rest of the course. Throughout the course we’ll go more in depth with learning botanical terms, plant families, genera and species as we work through each section.

Lesson 1 – Introduction to drawing techniques

Lesson 2 – The structure of plants

Lesson 3 – Mushrooms and Fungi (You can preview this lesson for free – see below)

Lesson 4 – Algae and Seaweed

Lesson 5 – Lichens

Lesson 6 – Mosses

Lesson 7 – Ferns and Horsetails

Lesson 8 – Conifers

Lesson 9 – Monocotyledons, Bulbs, and Lilies

Lesson 10 – Grasses

Lesson 11 – Dicotyledons and Rose

Lesson 12 – Trees

**It is important to have live specimens of plants for each lesson. I try to give suggestions where to find each type of plant as we go lesson by lesson. See the materials description for information on each lesson.**

Supplies Needed

A magnifying glass or loupe
A pencil
Eraser (kneadable is best)
Good drawing paper
Micron or similar artist pens in 3-4 sizes thin to thick in size (.005 or .003 / .01 or .02 / .04or .05 / .08)

Optional: colored pencils or watercolor pencils (we will not be focusing on color in these lessons, only the drawing aspect)

Live plant specimens for each of the weeks. These are necessary for the student to be able to draw the plants we will be working with:

Lesson 1 – A tree leaf and a flower, preferably a daisy family flower (daisy, sunflower, echinacea, etc.)

Lesson 2 – No plants required for this lesson -though Class 1 may run over and we may finish up our flower drawing in Lesson 2

Lesson 3 – A gilled and a pored mushroom (look in produce section of grocery store as well as out in nature) An example of a gilled mushroom is a portobello mushroom and a pored mushroom example would be a bolete or turkey tail

Lesson 4 – Algae can be found in local lakes and ponds. If you are fortunate enough to live near the ocean, gather some fresh seaweed!

Lesson 5 – Search for lichens in a wooded location. It can be found on a variety of trees and often litters the ground after a windy or stormy day.

Lesson 6 – Mosses are also found in the woods. Look on rocks, trunks and at the base of trees.

Lesson 7 – Ferns can be found at your local nursery. Horsetail grows near streams and prefers damp and shaded locations.

Lesson 8 – Look for pine cones in a local park, ideally, try to find some from different conifers: pine, spruce, fir for a variety. If possible, get a small branch from each tree as well.

Lesson 9 – Tulip, daffodil or other bulb and a lily (look for lilies at a florist if out of season)

Lesson 10 – Find some interesting grasses that are preferably blooming or going to seed and have grown up tall. Ditches, unmown prairies, near the edges of farm fields are all good locations to search out grasses.

Lesson 11 – Rose family flower (hawthorn, apple, rose, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, etc.) Look for a wild rose that has 5 petals (as opposed to florist roses).

Lesson 12 – A branch from a deciduous tree, ideally in your back yard or within walking distance so you can observe the tree after class. Extra bonus if the tree is blooming or fruiting!

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Course Content


  • Welcome!
  • Book List

Lesson 1 – Introduction and Drawing Techniques

Lesson 2 – The Structure of Plants

Lesson 4 – Seaweed and other Algae

Lesson 5 – Lichens

Lesson 6 – Mosses

Lesson 7 – Ferns and Horsetails

Lesson 8 – Conifers and other Gymnosperms

Lesson 9 – Monocots: Bulbs and Lilies

Lesson 10 – Monocots: Grasses

Lesson 11 – Dicots: Rose

Lesson 12 – Trees

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