CUGE ECO 3002F Plant Diversity & Nomenclature Series - Discovering Dipterocarpaceae & Meliaceae

The Southeast Asian Meranti Family is characteristic of our regional rainforests, and is one of the reasons why our forests are severely threatened, due to the valuable timber provided by members of this family. Chengal wood is justly famous for its strength, hardness, and durability. Chengal and other members of the Meranti Family are being grown as street trees in Singapore, adding to the diversity of native plants in our urban forests. The Mahogany family boasts many handsome tree genera used in our parks and streets, such as Khaya and Swietenia. Several of the species look very similar to each other, and this course will teach how to tell them apart.

The course will cover the basic characters that define the two families, as well as the characters that define the more common street tree species within those families.

Learning to identify trees by its taxonomic character would be essential when we intend to research more about the needs and proper care requirements of the particular tree.


The workshop is a one-day programme and aims to provide learners with a basic background in taxonomy and equip them with basic skills for proper plant identification. An essential feature of this course is the hands-on examination and dissection of live plant specimens in the classroom, as well as observing the living trees in the park.

Students are required to bring in as many plant specimens (belonging to any family, not only the Meranti and Mahogany Families) as they wish for identification. All specimens must contain some leaves attached to the stem, and especially, flowers and/or fruit. Specimens may be fresh (kept in plastic bags) or if collected several days before the course, they should be pressed and dried in newspaper.


  • Lecture/classroom based
  • Site visits/field study
  • Hands-on


  • Tree care practitioners
  • Landscape architects
  • Horticulturists

Mr Bian Tan is a specialist in botany, taxonomy, horticulture, plant conservation and environmental education. He also holds a MSc in Botany (Taxonomy & Systematics), and a BSc Honors in Horticulture with high distinction. Bian's experience spans many countries, notably the USA and the South East Asian nations. He has presented and moderated at numerous international conferences and has published articles in periodicals and journals. 


Professional Certification  CEUs
Certified Practicing Horticulturist 7
ISA Certified Arborist 5
*Awarded points may differ for different sessions. Please refer to the latest mailer or contact our staff for more information.

Course Fees (inclusive of GST)
Full fee $171.20
Fees include the provision of training, assessment materials, tools and equipment and refreshment. Terms and conditions apply.

Ms Nalini
Tel: 6462 7303


Please register and pay online here.
*CUGE course confirmation email will be sent to all participants who have registered successfully.

Class size will be limited to facilitate discussions and group exercises. Please register early.

All information are correct as of posted date. For enquiries, please contact us at