The UNSW Plant biology (BIOS2051) course introduces the basics of plant biology with a strong emphasis on Australian native flora. This course is intended for second-year students who are interested in learning about plants, including how to identify plants and understand plant adaptation to life in terrestrial environments.  The course had a name change in 2021, it was previously named Flowering Plants in 2020 and in prior years

The course will develop your skills in understanding and conducting field research, as well as effective communication of science. Through mix lab-based identification and field-based investigation, you’ll interpret the major aspects of functional and biological diversity of flowering plants. This course also involves elements of practical work, including light microscopy to analyse plant anatomy and identification.

During the course, you’ll gain an understanding in the following areas:

  • Cell structure, plant morphology and anatomy
  • Plant physiology
  • Climate change and plants
  • Plant developmental biology
  • Photosynthesis and the carbon cycle
  • Roots, micro-organisms and nutrition
  • Evolution of land plants
  • Plant taxonomy

Flowering Plants provides excellent preparation for third-year courses like Advanced Field Biology (BIOS3601)Life in Arid Lands (BIOS3161) and Plant Ecology (BIOS3061).

Term Offering

Term 3

Course Attendance

In Person


Undergraduate - Second Year



Course code


Course breakdown

The Flowering Plants course involves two field trips to national parks in the Sydney region, which take place during class time. One of the major assessments for this course is plant collection, and during fieldwork activities, you’ll collect and identify plant species.

Major topics covered include:

  • Plant Identification
  • Edible Botany
  • Plant Ecology and Biogeography
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about how plants work

Upon completion on the course, you’ll be able to:

  1. Interpret the major aspects of functional and biological diversity of flowering plants
  2. Understand plant adaptations to life in terrestrial ecosystems
  3. Identify plants from the Australian flora
  4. Integrate fundamental aspects of the biology of plants with current research issues in botany

Conditions for enrolment 

There’s no formal pre-requisite for Flowering Plants, but a first-year course in Biology or Chemistry is recommended for background about organisms and how they work. For example, Evolutionary and Functional Biology (BIOS1101).

Flowering Plants is the introductory botany course at UNSW and is assumed knowledge for Plant Ecology (BIOS3061) and honours research in plant sciences. A background in the biology of plants will be valuable for all students continuing in UNSW Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Find out more

For more information, please contact Associate Professor Will Cornwell.


T: +61 2 9385 0028