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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0327

A survey to determine teaching methodologies for plant material courses was conducted. A total of 120 surveys was sent to horticulture programs at U.S. universities and colleges. Thirty-nine, 22, and 8 respondents taught a woody plant (W), a herbaceous perennial (HP)/annual (A) course, and a foliage plant course, respectively; 21 respondents taught a combination of theses courses. The following similarities were noted for W and HP/A: 1) about 190 species per Semester were presented usually in a taxonomic order using slides as the primary teaching medium for lecture, 2) the most common student complaint was too much work and memorization, 3) the most common student compliment was the practical and useful nature of the subject matter, 4) in order of importance, plant identification, landscape value, and plant cultural aspects were emphasized. For W and HP/A, 93% and 65% of plants, respectively, were presented as landscape and arboreta specimens. Seventy percent of W courses used Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants; 58% and 10% of HP/A courses used Still's Manual of Herbaceous Ornamental Plants and Taylor's Guides, respectively.