Plants define the biological environment. All other organisms depend on plants’ capacity for photosynthesis. Plant structure and chemistry have shaped animal (including human) evolution, and we depend on plant products for food, medicine, structural materials, and many other things. Yet few people can name even the dominant plants in their environment and what determines their distribution, can recognize the role of vegetation in controlling the living landscape, or are aware of the particulars (and vulnerabilities) of our dependence on plants. This course is a general exploration of the adaptive structure, habits, and diversity of plants, with strong emphases on the study of plants in habitat and development of taxonomic repertoire and observational skills. Themes include: basic plant structure and function; taxonomy and identification of plants, particularly local flora; ecology of plant distribution and abundance, and the history and nature of human use of and dependence on plants. In addition to classroom and written work, the course includes lab time and extensive fieldwork in diverse terrain and weather, and there will probably be one weekend field trip. All class meeting may include field or lab work, but Thursday meetings will generally be of this nature.