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.


 This two–day course aims to provide learners with a basic background in botany and equip them with basic skills for proper plant identification, with emphasis on street trees. 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 botanic gardens.

Learning to identify trees based on taxonomic characters is important because mis–identifications very often lead to improper care and placement of trees in the landscape, spoiling the beauty and quality of the landscape, and even resulting in death of the trees. Having the correct scientific name of a plant is essential when we intend to research more about the needs and proper care requirements of a particular plant.


  • Introduction to tropical plant diversity and conservation
  • Naming of plants basic classification and nomenclature
  • Terminology of plant parts used in plant identification
  • Introduction to keys and how to use them in identifications
  • Introduction to the Meranti and Mahogany families (Dipterocarpaceae and Meliaceae)

On both days, 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.


  • Classroom sessions and dissections.
  • Outdoor field trips in the garden, practicing identifications and plant characters.


  • Planners and Developers
  • Architects
  • Surveyors
  • Tree Care Practitioners & Landscape Architects
  • Project/Estate Managers involved in project planning and development


Mr Bian Tan is a specialist in Botany, Taxonomy, Horticulture, Botanic Gardens, Plant Conservation and Environmental Education. He also holds a MSc in Botany focusing on Taxonomy & Systematics, and a BSc Honors in Horticulture with High Distinction.


Professional Certification  CEUs
Certified Practicing Horticulturist 13
ISA Certified Arborist 10
*Awarded points may differ for different sessions.

Course Fees (inclusive of GST)
Full fee $386.00

Fees include provision of training materials and refreshment.

Terms and conditions apply.

All information are correct as of posted date.

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