Australian Plants

    Unit code: RBF2620 | Study level: Undergraduate
    (Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
    Footscray Park
    RBF1310 - Biology 1
    RBF1320 - Biology 2
    Or equivalents to be determined by Unit coordinator.
    (Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


    There are approximately 250,000 plant species on the planet Earth. The importance of plants as the primary means of converting minerals and solar energy into 'life' is critical to the functioning of all other forms of life, including humans and the planet as a whole. This unit focuses on developing a fuller understanding of the diversity and evolution of plants (including algae fungi), particularly in the Australian context. This understanding helps us to come to a greater appreciation of the role plants play in our everyday life. More specifically, there is emphasis on the morphological characteristics and life histories of the various major plant groups, their evolution and relationships, systematics, nomenclature, identification and classification. Additionally, there is a focus on how the biogeography of Australian plants can be explained by their life history and the history of the continent and particularly, how and why Australia has evolved a diverse and highly endemic primarily sclerophyllous flora where the forests and woodlands are dominated by two tree genera, Eucalyptus and Acacia.

    Learning Outcomes

    On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    1. Distinguish and identify key morphological features and life history characteristics of plants;
    2. Distinguish and differentiate between major families, genera and species of Australian plants with professional skill and judgement using high-level identification guides;
    3. Devise tools for collecting and preserving plant specimens with creativity and initiative; and
    4. Articulate clearly, diagrammatically and in writing, complex information on the morphology, life cycles and relationships of various plant families and report on their evolutionary history.


    For Melbourne campuses

    Assessment type: Laboratory Work
    Grade: 30%
    Lab reports
    Assessment type: Portfolio
    Grade: 30%
    Herbarium and portfolio
    Assessment type: Test
    Grade: 40%

    Required reading

    Biology: An Australian Focus
    Knox, B., Ladiges, P., Evans, B., & Saint, R. (2010)| McGraw-Hill Education

    As part of a course

    This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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