Site Accessibility Statement
Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 7, 2016
Canadian Excellence


BI 396G: Biodiversity, Conservation and Uses of Canadian Plants

BI 396G: Biodiversity, Conservation and Uses of Canadian Plants


Instructor: Dr. Mihai Costea; Office Hours: Fri: 1-5 pm

Lectures: Mon, Wed, Fri 11:30 - 12:20 am (BA112)


The course will cover aspects of Canadian plants diversity—its description, conservation strategies, and potential uses by humankind. Biodiversity and conservation biology are disciplines in a race against time. Habitat loss, pollution, and introduction of invasive species have accelerated the extinction of many life forms, and accentuated the emergency of cataloging and protecting life on Earth. However, adequate conservation measures can be taken only after a rigorous biodiversity assessment. Therefore, understanding biodiversity is the prerequisite step before conservation management. In this course, the biodiversity of plants will be approached in a ‘natural history’ context using the current plant phylogenetic classification system as a unifying taxonomic framework. The theoretical and practical information necessary to describe and identify the most important Canadian flowering plants—from endangered, cultivated to invasive—will be provided along with their traditional and modern uses (food, medicinal, hallucinogenic, dyes, fibers, construction, spiritual, etc.). The principles, operational and legislative approaches to the conservation management will also be elaborated.


Topics to be covered:

·        Biodiversity and Systematics; Principles of plant classification;

·        Biodiversity and conservation concepts;

·        Biodiversity and conservation websites and online tools;

·        Vegetative morphology of vascular plants; basic terminology;

·        Reproductive morphology of flowering plants; basic terminology;

·        Plant diversity and uses of Canadian plants: Pteridophytes; Gymnosperms; Angiosperms; Major clades of flowering plants: “Non-monocot paleoherbs” (Nymphaeales); “Magnoliid complex” (Magnoliaceae); Monocots: Liliaceae, Trilliaceae, Orchidaceae, Cyperaceae, Poaceae; “Eudicots:” Ranunculaceae; Caryophyllaceae; Fabaceae; Rosaceae; Fagaceae; Solanaceae; Lamiaceae; Apiaceae & Asteraceae.



Midterm I:                          30% (6th week, February 3rd, 2010)

Miderm II:                          30%  (9th week, March 5th, 2010)

Final Exam:                        40%

 TOTAL                          100


Recommended references (NO required textbook):

Judd, W. S., Campbell, C. S., Kellogg, E. A., Stevens, P. F. & M. J. Donoghue. 2007. Plant Systematics - A Phylogenetic Approach, 2nd ed. Sunderland MA, Sinauer Associates, Inc. 

Dickinson, T., Metsger, D., Bull, J. & R. Dickinson 2007. The ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario. Toronto ON, Royal Ontario Museum and McClelland and Stewart Ltd.