NIGK22002U Tropical Botany

Volume 2023/2024

Tropical Botany has focus on plant knowledge in a broad sense covering recognition /identification, geographical distribution, ecology and human use of plants. It covers important crop plants, timber trees, non-timber forest products, medicinal plants, pasture grasses, ornamentals as well as ecological important plants. During a series of lectures and exercises, the students will become familiar with taxonomic principles, botanical terminology, plant morphology, occurrence of plant families around the world as related to climate, evolution and continental drift, plant ecology, pollination, fruit and seed dispersal. Students will be introduced to various web-based information sources, floras and Apps.   

Parallel with these overall principles, the course will go through a large number of selected plant families with highlight on characters, genera and species. Some of these will be presented by students. Dry material, and to the extent fresh plant-material is available from the Botanical Garden, these materials will be integrated parts of presentations and exercises.

Students will elaborate a report on an in-depth study of a selected topic, plant family or group of families during the progression of the course. The selected topic should include several elements of the course curriculum.

Learning Outcome

After this course, students will be able to:


  • Identify important tropical plant families through analysis of morphological characters
  • Describe a plant using the proper morphological terms
  • List the most important usages and ecological requirements of a selection of tropical plants
  • Research characteristics, properties, and use of a plant from online resources
  • Correctly classify a species taxonomically based on systematics
  • Apply the correct scientific and English names of tropical plants
  • Relate species morphology and characters to ecological adaptations such as habitat, pollination or regeneration



  • Gather, analyze, critically evaluate, and communicate knowledge on plants families, species, and use
  • Identify species by the aid of appropriate floras, Apps or on-line sources
  • Assess a species’ potential as e.g. crop, medicinal, timber, toxic etc. based on knowledge of its taxonomic affiliation 



  • Recommend species for evaluation e.g. as future crops or ornamentals
  • Advise about plant biodiversity and sustainable production
  • Provide an inventory of a species in an area
  • Make recommendations about protective measures for local flora

Please see absalon page.

Basic botany
Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
About two third of the course will be allocated for classroom lectures, exercises and visits to botanical garden. There will be one visit to the Botanical Garden every week fro 1st to 7th week. Students presenting families will collect fresh plant material prior to lectures. Student classroom presentation must be a different family than the one they work with in their group work. Exercises will include plant morphology, distribution maps, plant use and use of identification sources like floras and Apps. About one third of the course will be dedicated to independent study of the students’ chosen topic and a written report, which may be written individually or in groups of up to three participants.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Class Instruction
  • 12
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Theory exercises
  • 15
  • Practical exercises
  • 27
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Guidance
  • 20
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Total
  • 206
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, Prepared during course
Oral examination, 30 minutes
Type of assessment details
Written assignment followed by 30 minutes oral exam without preperation. The oral exam accounts for 50% and the written course assignment (prepared during the course) 50% towards to the total mark. An overall assessment is made after the oral exam.
Exam registration requirements

Student presentation of chosen families, genera and 'crop(s)'

Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examiner

Indetical to the ordinary exam.

If the requirements are not met, the student must do the presentation of chosen 'crop(s)' to the course coordinator two weeks before the reexamination at the latest.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see learning outcome