March 1st, 2020 - May 31st, 2020

It's Botany season!


Botany is the study of plants. Plants are living organisms that create their own energy using sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. For this reason they are known as producers. There are over 300,000 species of plants worldwide! Plants include towering trees, breathtakingly beautiful flowers and curious insect-eaters such as the venus flytrap (native only to North Carolina!).

Botany Fun Fact

The North Carolina state tree is the longleaf pine and the state flower is the flowering dogwood.

More Botany Tips

Click on the resources below to learn more about plants:

Botany resource apps:

  • Audubon Trees
  • Audubon Wildflowers
  • Leaf Snap
  • vTree

Botany Challenge

To earn your Botany Field Badge you must complete three out of the six challenges listed below. There will be a new challenge added every Monday afternoon throughout the month of May.

The deadline to submitting all of your Botany Field Badge materials is Friday June 5th.


Challenge One-Find and remove an invasive plant

  • Find and identify an invasive plant species. Submit a photo of the plant with the correct identification onto your online account
  • Take a separate photo of you removing the plant
  • Submit the photo of you removing the plant onto your online dashboard with "Botany Challenge One" as the title

**Remember to only remove plants with an adult and with permission of the property owner**


Challenge Two-Study a native wildflower

  • Find and identify a native wildflower. Submit a photo of the flower onto your online dashboard
  • Draw a picture of the wildflower. Be sure to include the flower and leaf shape
  • Also include a brief paragraph describing when the flower blooms in your area of North Carolina and one interesting fact that you learned
  • Submit a photo of your drawing onto your online dashboard with "Botany Challenge Two" as the title


Challenge Three-Interview a plant

  • Watch the Wonderful World of Plants Video here.
  • Find and identify a plant that you would like to interview. Submit a photo of that plant onto your online dashboard
  • Use the challenge activity to help guide you through or simply write out some of your own questions, along with the answers YOU think that your plant would give. Find the challenge activity here.
  • Submit a photo of your completed challenge activity onto your online dashboard with "Botany Challenge Three" as the title.


Challenge Four-Plant and Animal Interactions

  • Watch the Plant and Animal Video here.
  • Take a photo of at least three different types of plants and upload them onto your online dashboard. Make sure one of those photos shows evidence of a plant and animal interaction, and write a description of what is taking place in the comments section.
  • Draw a picture, write a poem, or write a creative story describing the interaction that you found. Take a photo of your creation and submit it as its own observation with the title "Botany Challenge Four!"

Need help completing your challenge? Click here to find the challenge activity guide that will help you with this week's challenge.


Challenge Five-Plants and Us

  • Watch the Plants and Us Video here.
  • Take a photo of at least three different types of plants and upload them onto your online dashboard. Choose one of these plants and think about how humans might interact with it. Write a description of this interaction in the comments section.
  • Write a creative story or poem about this interaction OR use the comic strip template to draw it! Take a photo of your creation and submit it as its own observation with the title "Botany Challenge Five."

Need help completing your challenge? Click here to find the challenge activity guide that will help you with this week's challenge.


Challenge Six-Plants and Me

  • Watch the Plants and Me Video here
  • Take a photo of at least three different types of plants and upload them onto your online dashboard.
  • Complete the Whats That Weed activity here.


Bonus Challenge!

  • Attend our virtual Botany Season Summit on Saturday May 30th at 10:00. You'll get to meet and interact with other ecoEXPLORERS, our ecoEXPLORE video stars, and professional botanists. If you are interested in attending please sign up with this form. Several days before this digital event you will receive an email detailing how to access our event.
  • If you unable to make the summit and still want a chance to ask a real botanist questions, simply email your questions to ecoexplore@ncarboretum.org. We will ask your question and send you a recording of the Season Summit.
Jennifer Rhode Ward, University of North Carolina, Asheville Botany Science Mentor

Jen Ward is a faculty member in UNC Asheville’s Biology Department, where she teaches classes in botany, genetics, and marine biology. Her research, which is funded by agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Science Foundation, surveys plant populations, discerns population genetic patterns, and investigates plant / pollinator interactions. Current focal species are either imperiled or invasive, and include American ginseng, oriental bittersweet, pitcher plants, and Virginia spiraea. She also leads course-based research experiences in plant phenology, which examine patterns in the timing of life history events like flower production. Dr. Ward maintains home gardens for permaculture and native pollinator habitat, works to eradicate invasive plants on public and private lands, and is passionate about educating students and citizens about plant life!