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Summer Native Flora Identification

FIELD | Five Sessions: Wednesdays, June 21 - July 26, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.+

NOTE: No class on Wednesday, July 5. Class will shift to Thursday, July 6, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.+ No class will be held on July 19.

Instructor: Scott Dean

$285 Non-member Adult**

(**Arboretum Members receive a 10% discount on all classes.)

Course Capacity: 10

BRN Core or Elective (Plant Studies) | NCEE Criteria II


In this entirely field-based class led by Naturalist Scott Dean, you will learn to identify native mountain flora on the trail by training your eyes and using a non-technical dichotomous keying system. You will study the characteristics of plant families and the basics of plant communities all in place. While the focus is on spring wildflowers and trees, you will also pick up a wealth of information on the natural and cultural history of the native flora of the Blue Ridge.


A listing of locations for the Field classes will be sent to registrants prior to the first meeting.


Return times may vary according to hiker's pace, summer traffic and trail conditions. An online class which has been pre-recorded for students to view at a time which works best for them introduces new students to keying basics and provides an overview of the diversity of vascular plants located in Southern Appalachia. Registrants will have access to the same Schoology as the online students as well, and may join zoom classes on Tuesdays or view the recordings.


Required/Recommended References: Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide and Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians are recommended as references. An additional reference is Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia by Timothy P. Spira, published through UNC Press. Copies of these reference guides are usually in stock at the Arboretum’s Connections shop, at Malaprop’s in Asheville and City Lights in Sylva. Shop local when you can!


Required/Recommended Equipment: Participants in the field version of this class should be able to walk unassisted (or with hiking poles) on uneven terrain able to drive some distances or be willing to carpool to reach trailheads. Wear suitable clothing and footwear for moderate hiking. Scott recommends a good hand lens or loupe (Triplet 7X, nothing over 10) and binoculars (6 magnification).

Scott Dean was born and raised in the mountains of southern Appalachia, specifically the coalfields of West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. He developed the original Ecology, Botany, and Zoology curricula for the Blue Ridge Naturalist Program, and has been both a classroom and field instructor with the program since its inception. He has led walks for UNC Asheville and the Cullowhee Native Plants Conference, been a featured speaker at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Wildflower program, and spoken at various social and civic events in the Asheville area over the last twenty years.

Registration and Participation in In-Person Classes through the Arboretum:

  • Registration for this class will close two days before the class start date.
  • Make sure you enter your email address correctly when registering.
  • Registrants will be sent a reminder email the day prior to class with the meeting location, current Safety Guidelines, and additional details.
  • Access to more information will be available upon registration via your account's Supplemental Content section (if applicable to your class). To learn how to view this information, please use this helpful guide.

*Please add to your contacts to ensure our emails do not end up in your spam folder.

Item details


June 21, 2023


Arboretum Members: Please login above in the top left corner (above the course title and picture) before adding classes to your cart. Your member discount will be applied on the checkout page. You will be re-directed back to this page after logging in.

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