Botany / Forestry 402: Dendrology

University of Wisconsin - Madison
Syllabus - Fall Semester 2009
2 credits

Instructor: Sara Hotchkiss, 353 Birge Hall
TA: Shelley Crausbay, 347 Birge Hall

Course website: (login to Botany 402 using UW ID and password). The syllabus, schedule updates, maps, species lists, and links to web resources are posted here.

Course Schedule: Lecture - Tuesdays 9:30 – 10:45 a.m., 346 Birge Hall
Lab Sec 301 - Tuesdays 1:20 - 3:50 p.m., 245 Birge Hall
Lab Sec 302 - Wednesdays: 1:20 - 3:50 p.m., 245 Birge Hall

Texts and other materials (available at UW Bookstore):

1. Barnes, B. & W. Wagner, Michigan Trees: A guide to the trees of the Great Lakes region. University of Michigan Press.
2. A hand lens or small magnifier (10X) - located in Art Supplies, or from Forestry Suppliers (
3. A small field notebook (waterproof “Rite in the Rain” is best)
4. A small pocketknife can also come in handy.

Other useful resources:

Cope, E. A. Muenscher’s Keys to Woody Plants.  Cornell University Press.

Smith, W.R. Trees and Shrubs of Minnesota.  Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Learning Objectives:
• To be able to identify native Wisconsin woody plant species, and some important exotics.
• To know the morphology, distribution, habitat, ecology, and economic importance of these species.
• To be familiar with the characteristic tree taxa of the world’s major forest types.
• To understand how morphology, life history, and ecology are related to habitat and distribution of woody plants.
• To understand the major processes of disturbance and succession and their effects on the composition, structure and economic value of tree communities.

Participation policy:

Since most of this course takes place in the field, attendance to labs is mandatory, unless you are sick. Field trips are held rain or shine – please be prepared! If you have a conflict, contact your professor or T.A. to obtain permission to attend the other lab section.  You may not attend the other lab section without prior authorization.  Attendance in lab and lecture counts towards your participation grade.   In case of illness, contact your professor or T.A. to arrange an alternative activity.

Exams & Assignments:


Grade Item


% of total

Field Quiz 1

Sept. 22 & 23


Field Quiz 2

Oct. 13 & 14


Field Quiz 3

Nov. 3 & 4



Sept. 15, Oct. 6, Nov. 3, Nov.16


Final Exam (Lecture & Labs)

Dec. 15 & 16


Class Participation

All semester



93-100% A
90-93% AB
83-90% B
80-83% BC
70-80% C
60-70% D

COURSE SCHEDULE - FALL 2006 (Download as PDF)




Sept. 8 & 9


Intro to Wisconsin Tree Habitats, Nomenclature and Morphology Reading: Michigan Trees pp.1-45


Meet in Lab, campus walk

Wisconsin Trees Part I: Maples, Horsechestnuts & Ashes

Sept. 15 & 16


Wisconsin Trees Part II: Oaks, Nuts and Cherries

Terminology Assignment DUE


Wingra Woods lot - Arboretum

Wisconsin Trees Part II 

Reading: WI Habitats - online

Sept. 22 & 23


Wisconsin Trees Part III: Birches, Aspens, Elms and Legumes


Arboretum Visitor Center

Wisconsin Trees Part III 

FIELD QUIZ 1 (on parts I & II)

Sept. 29 & 30


Wisconsin Shrubs


Monroe St. Savanna

Wisconsin Shrubs

Oct. 6 & 7


Functional Morphology of Trees


Meet in Lab: Campus Walk

More Wisconsin Trees & Shrubs Assignment: Madison Trees DUE

Oct. 13 & 14


Dynamics of Wisconsin Forests Reading: McCune & Cottam 1985


Eagle Heights Woods

Natural Gradients and Ecotones -FIELD QUIZ 2

Oct. 20 & 21


Major Conifer Groups


St. Dunstan’s Church

Conifer identification

Oct. 27 & 28


Phytogeography (Dr. Ken Sytsma)


Picnic Point

Disturbance & Succession / Conifer review

Nov. 3 & 4


Forest History


Meet in Lab


Herbarium Specimens DUE

Nov. 10 & 11


Wood anatomy (Dr. Alex Wiedenhoeft)


Meet in Lab

Wood anatomy

Nov. 17 & 18


Economically Important Trees I 


Meet in Lab

Twigs & Winter ID I

Nov. 24


Economically Important Trees II


NO LAB – Thanksgiving week


Dec. 1 & 2


Trees in Winter


Meet in Lab

Twigs & Winter ID II

Dec. 8 & 9


Tropical Dendrology


Olbrich Gardens Conservatory

Tropical Woody Plants

Dec. 15 &16

Final Exam

FINAL EXAM (Lecture + Lab)