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PNW Plant Identification 2- Family Traits & Herb Walk is a Course

PNW Plant Identification 2- Family Traits & Herb Walk

Aug 13, 2022 - Oct 20, 2022

$80 Enroll

Full course description

Course Date & Time:

Saturday August 20, 2022- 10:00am - 2:00pm PST


Course Notes

IMPORTANT: By registering for this class, you are ONLY registering for the second class in a series of three. If you'd like to register for the full series and be eligible for a certificate of completion, please check out this link
  • This course is held in-person at our Bastyr University Kenmore Campus. Participants will follow signs to find Room 55 on the basement level of our main building
  • Registration is open to those ages 12+.
  • Most of the class will be held inside, but please dress for the weather for walks through the garden.
  • There is no food service available on campus at this time, so please bring your lunch. 

Canvas Classroom

By registering for the course, you are given access to a Canvas classroom. This is optional, but it will hold any resources and links discussed in class, and you will need to access it to complete your post-course evaluation and competency quiz (if you take all three classes in the series). Please check your email following registration for access instructions. You will not have access until the day of class. For any issues related to Canvas access, please email us at 


About the Course

A three-part course designed to introduce students to the foundations of Plant Identification.  The first class will teach students about plant morphology, the main method used for identifying plants.  Students will learn about the various ways in which a plant organizes its features, its morphology, and the course will cover morphological traits that pertain to stem, root, leaf, flower, inflorescence, and fruit morphology.   The second course in the series will cover the morphological traits specific to a group of families prevalent in the PNW; and will then take students into the field on herb walks to identify specific species of plants found in the families covered. We will discuss the traits used to identify our medicinal species, how to sustainably wildcraft plants for medicinal use, how to use plants as medicine via learning about the materia medica of the plant, and we will explore the many methods used in making medicine from our local medicinal plants.   The third and final course will teach students how to use the main dichotomous key of the region, The Flora of the Pacific Northwest, in order to learn how to key a plant in the wild to its corresponding family, genus and species.  Students will learn about the tools used in plant identification, the skills employed in keying out plants, and will have the opportunity to work in the field to key out a number of plants using the The Flora of the Pacific Northwest.

Class 2- Plant ID Family Traits and Herb Walk: 4hr class: covering the following families- Rosaceae, Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, Ericaceae

Plants are classified into what family they belong in first, then what specific genus they are housed in, and further into what unique species they are.  When we learn the basic morphological traits of a family we can then move forward to keying a plant out into what genus and species it is.  In this class we will explore the key morphological traits of the main families prevalent in the PNW, which provide us with a wealth of food and medicine.  We will also be expanding our medicinal knowledge of the plants belonging to the families covered by exploring the therapeutic qualities associated with each family.  Once the core features of the families are learned we will take an herb walk, which will be focused on applying our morphological training to identify our native plants from the families covered. We will explore the medicinal properties of the plants highlighted on our walk, and we will discuss the best method for harvesting each herb and for preparing the herbs into medicine for our personal medicine chests.  You will be amazed by the medicinal properties of plants you have already met and will be tickled by getting to know some new plant allies as well.

Course Learning Objectives & Goals

  1. Attendees will learn about how plants are classified into the 3 major groups important in plant identification; family, genus, and species. 
  2. Attendees will discover the wide variety of ways in which plants arrange themselves through studying botanical morphological traits.
  3. Attendees will learn the key morphological traits of 4 main families prevalent in the PNW. 
  4. Attendees will learn about the medicinal properties of the plant families being covered. 
  5. Attendees will learn how to identify specific medicinal plants within the families being covered.
  6. Attendees will learn about the medicinal properties of the medicinal plants being covered. 
  7. Attendees will be learn the best methods for sustainably harvesting the herbs being covered.
  8. Attendees will learn about some basic types of preparations that the medicinal herbs being covered can be made into.



What to Bring (materials NOT INCLUDED in course fee)

Class will be held at Bastyr University's Kenmore campus, as well as around out in the garden on campus. Please dress for the weather. 

All materials can be purchased at the Bastyr Bookstore online, or in-person Mon-Fri 9-5pm


  1. Hand-Lens (A.K.A. Loupe).  Ten power (10X) is optimal.
  2. Ruler – with both metric and English measurements.  I recommend using a small (6” / 15cm), non-colored, transparent, plastic ruler. 
  3. Sharp cutting tool: single-edge razor blade, scalpel, folding razor knife, sharp scissors etc.
  4. Field notebook, water proof is ideal. 
  5. Writing implement- pencil is needed if using a rite in the rain book.


  1. Two finely pointed forceps.  I recommend straight rather than curved forceps.
  2. One self-closing forceps.
  3. One sharp-pointed dissecting needle/probe.

Required Texts for Family Traits

Plant Identification Terminology-An Illustrated Glossary, Harris. Spring Lake Pub., 2nd ed., 2001.  IBSN 0964022168


Course Completion Requirements (in order to receive a Certificate of Completion)

  • You must attend the full series of three classes held at BU Kenmore
  • You must complete the course exam with a 75% or higher to pass (after completing all three classes)
  • You must complete the course evaluation.

About the Instructor

Crystal Hamby.jpg

Crystal Hamby's knowledge stems from her devotion to all things green, and from her education in herbal medicine.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Herbal Sciences from Bastyr University, where she is an adjunct faculty member teaching classes in the Botanical Medicine department.  Her business, Green Blessings Herbal Counseling and Classes, focuses on private herbal consultations, as well as offering a variety of community-based classes and services.  She believes that everyone can benefit from the healing power of plant medicine, and it is her desire to bring the wisdom of herbal medicine back into the lives of those in my community so that I may inspire and educate those around me to live a more healthful life. For more information on her counseling practice and classes offered please visit her website at


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