65928 - Plant Biology

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Zero hunger Affordable and clean energy Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

After attending the course the student will have basic knowledge on anatomy, morphology, growth and reproduction of the different plant classes, as well as on their evolution and relationship with the environment.

Course contents

Peculiar characteristics of plant organisms. Anatomy of the plant cell with description of its specific organelles: cell wall, plastids, vacuole. Base concepts of evolution and classification of photosynthetic organisms. Morphological characteristics, life cycles and ecological relevance of algae, briophytes, pteridophytes and spermatophytes with outline of systematics. Plant tissue organization and description of the anatomy of stem, leaf, root, flower with hints on the characters useful for plant classification. Basic concepts of main physiological processes (photosynthesis, water transport) and of adaptations to environmental stresses in regard to their specific biome.


Mauseth J.D.: Botany - An introduction to plant biology

Teaching methods

The course consists of 2 parts:

  • 4 CFU of lectures held by Prof. Pistocchi
  • 1 CFU of frontal lessons and 1 CFU of practical exercises held by Prof. Pezzolesi

Part of the exercises are carried out in a laboratory with 15 microscopes and 15 screens for students, plus a microscope with a camera in which the teacher can display and explain the section to all students.

The purpose of the practical part is to let the student learn the use of the optical microscope and how to prepare sections of plant tissues. The sections will be viewed under the microscope and different types of cells will be recognized, even through specific stainings. Other observations under the microscope will concern photosynthetic microorganisms, in particular cyanobacteria and microalgae.

Some exercises aimed at the attribution of plants to a specific botanical family or to specific taxonomic groups will be performed in "quiz" mode

The course includes an educational trip to the Botanical Garden of Bologna where students can observe live plants belonging to different taxa even in typical reconstructed environment.

Assessment methods

The final examination aims to the following objectives evaluation:

  • Knowledge of the role of the different plant groups in the environment relatively to: carbon cycle, resourses utilization (light, water, CO2, inorganic nutrients), interactions with microorganisms and adaptive responses.
  • Knowledge of the anatomy, growth and reproduction aspects of the main taxa and of peculiar aspects related to their identification.

The vote will be assigned following the delivery of a short report on a plant species, choosen by the student, and the positive result of a written test. The test contains 6 open questions one of which is relative to the identification of an organ structure and to its description. The exam can be passed also by students not attending the practical part. The positive score is comprised between 18 and 30.

Examples of the written test and of the plant report are available in the Teaching material site of the teacher.

Teaching tools

Frontal lectures are supported by PowerPoint slides available through the teaching material site of UNIBO, attainable through username and password given by the University to the enrolled students. The teacher will utilize also live material or replicas.

For microscope observations freshly collected plant materials will be used. The participation to the practicals is highly recommended but not mandatory. Picture of the sections observed will be delivered through the teaching material.

Office hours

See the website of Rossella Pistocchi

See the website of Laura Pezzolesi