PSC103 Botany (8)

This subject focuses on the flowering plants (the angiosperms), the most successful plants on the planet and vital for our survival.

We start with an overview of plants, highlighting their intimate association with us, from domestication of important food species to plants of cultural and pharmacological significance. A summary of the evolutionary leaps that brought us the angiosperms is provided and this highlights their success among the land plants. The importance of classification and specific naming of plants for scientific study is also reviewed. The subject then moves from the atomic to molecular, 'molecules of life', through cell structure, cell division, meristems, tissues, and to that most important of life processes - photosynthesis. We then examine the reproductive sequence of flowers, fruits and seeds, followed by the vegetative parts: stems, roots and leaves. Linked and integrated through these topics is an exploration of how plants respond to their environment through signal molecules such as phytochrome and hormones. Finally we look at how water, minerals and sugar are transported through xylem and phloem.

PSC103 covers the same content as PSC102, but on a delayed timeline (June residential school) for viticulture and wine science students involved in vintage. Students needing to attend April residential schools should enrol in PSC102.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
Online *
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PSC103. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Students who have completed BIO126 or BIO127 or PSC102 cannot enrol into this subject.

Enrolment restricted to students undertaking the B. of Wine Science, B of Wine Business and B. of Viticulture courses only.  All other students seeking enrolment in the subject need to seek permission from the subject co-ordinator.

Incompatible Subjects

BIO126, BIO127, PSC102

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain the importance of flowering plants for life on earth;
  • be able to describe the molecules of life and metabolic processes, especially photosynthesis;
  • be able to describe the role of cell division, meristems and tissue types in plant development;
  • be able to name, classify and distinguish between major plant groups;
  • be able to dissect flowers and then prepare floral formulas (a short hand way of summarising flower structure);
  • be able to describe the processes of pollination, double fertilisation and the requirements for seed germination, including dormancy; hypogeal and epigeal germination;
  • be able to identify and describe morphological and anatomical features of stems, roots and leaves and then relate this to the functioning of these plant organs;
  • be able to recall different types of plant responses to environmental signals, including the role of phytochromes and hormones in flowering and other physiological processes;
  • be able to analyse and evaluate data and draw and interpret graphs of experimental results, and
  • be able to integrate knowledge from different units of study to create a depth of knowledge and understanding of flowering plants (for example, how water is involved in processes such as metabolism, transpiration, photosynthesis and sugar movement).


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Unit 1: The science of botany; origins of agriculture; plants and people; taxonomy. evolution and research methodology
  • Unit 2: From molecules to cells
  • Unit 3: Energy and cell division - photosynthesis, respiration and how cells divide
  • Unit 4: Plant structure, growth and development
  • Unit 5: Angiosperm diversity and reproduction; flowers, fruits and seeds
  • Unit 6: Plant behaviour; hormones and response to external stimuli
  • Unit 7: Stems; form and function
  • Unit 8: Form function and nutrition through symbiotic relationships
  • Unit 9: Leaves 1: Leaf function and specialisations
  • Unit 10: Leaves 2: Adaptations of photosynthetic metabolism and functions besides photosynthesis

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PSC103 in Session 1 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Pre-hecs census assessment
Pre-ressie assignment
Practical exam
Final exam

Residential School

This subject contains a 5 day Compulsory Residential School.

The residential school provides students with practical examples of the theory taught within the subject. The practicals are laboratory based and cover plant tissue and living cells through the microscope, measuring photosynthesis, flower/fruit/seed morphology, stem root/leaf anatomy, seed germination, hormone examples and water potential measurement.

Students in PSC103 will also attempt the end of session exam on the final day of the residential school.

Special Resources

Travel to and accommodation at a CSU campus is required for distance education students attending the compulsory residential school. All students are required to have a lab coat, safety glasses and covered footwear for lab based practicals.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.