Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • ES - Environmental Science

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

This class offers an introduction to plant biology centered around plants that are useful to human societies. We will explore plant anatomy, physiology, evolution, and ecology through case studies involving plants that are useful to humans. Through lectures, readings, and discussions, students will gain a rich understanding of how plants function and how human societies depend on them in myriad ways. We will cover universal and familiar uses of plants such as food, building materials, and textiles, as well as less widely practiced uses including arrow poisons, lacquers, and living fences. We will discuss the origins of agriculture and methods of plant breeding, as well as the biogeographical history of important cultivated plant lineages. The focus will be on plants and our uses for them, but we will also discuss ethical concerns surrounding practices like bioprospecting and ex situ conservation. Students will be evaluated on participation and the successful completion of two presentations and a research paper.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.