Unit of competency details

AHCPCM502A - Collect and classify plants (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 10/Jun/2011

Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to AHCPCM502 - Collect and classify plantsThis unit is equivalent to AHCPCM502A Collect and classify plants. 26/Jun/2016
Supersedes RTC5011A - Collect and classify plants21/Jul/2011

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 010903 Botany  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 010903 Botany  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit covers the process of collecting and identifying plants using taxonomic keys and the preserving of plant specimens and defines the standard required to: collect plant specimens; note the location, characteristics and occurrence of specimens at the point of collection; clean, preserve, mount and label plant specimens; use a plant key to identify plants against the botanical description of the species; label preserved specimens.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to the collection, classification and preservation of plants as a herbarium collection and requires the ability to work independently to prepare for plant collecting, collect plant specimens, preserve specimens and identify plant specimens.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for plant collecting

1.1. Purpose and objectives for collecting range of plants is confirmed.

1.2. Area, location and/or habitat for collecting are defined.

1.3. Resources to assist in plant location and identification are determined and prepared.

1.4. Equipment required for collecting and preserving specimens is determined and prepared.

1.5. Licences and/or permission to collect specimens are sought from landowner or managing agency.

1.6. Range of likely operating conditions, hazards and difficult/sensitive environments are assessed for impact on collecting and preserving specimens.

1.7. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) hazards associated with plant collecting are identified.

2. Collect plant specimens

2.1. Collecting ethics are observed when selecting specimens for picking.

2.2. Relevant information about the specimen, its characteristics and occurrence is entered into a field note book and location coordinates are noted.

2.3. Specimen collected provides adequate material for identification and preserving.

2.4. Specimens are correctly tagged and stored for later identification.

2.5. Appropriate OHS legislative requirements and work practices are followed.

3. Preserve specimens

3.1. Preservation of specimen is undertaken while still fresh.

3.2. Specimen is cleaned and prepared for preserving according to enterprise guidelines.

3.3. Preserving of specimen carried out using either pressing or drying techniques.

3.4. Dried specimen is mounted and labelled with accurate information from notebook.

4. Identify plant specimen

4.1. Resources are identified and accessed to assist in identification.

4.2. The basic characteristics of a plant are identified and documented.

4.3. Relevant plant key is used to identify plant.

4.4. Plant identity is confirmed against botanical description of species.

4.5. Plant identity is documented on label according to enterprise guidelines.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • prepare for plant collecting
  • collect plant specimens
  • preserve specimens
  • identify plant specimens
  • follow safe work practices
  • use literacy skills to fulfil job roles as required by the organisation. The level of skill may range from reading and understanding documentation to completion of written reports
  • use oral communication skills/language competence to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation including questioning, active listening, asking for clarification, negotiating solutions and responding to a range of views
  • use numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record complex workplace measures
  • use interpersonal skills to work with others and relate to people from a range of cultural, social and religious backgrounds and with a range of physical and mental abilities.

Required knowledge 

  • herbarium collection techniques and ethics
  • plant anatomy, physiology, morphology, taxonomy and nomenclature
  • physical and biological habitat types (including vegetation associations and communities where appropriate)
  • OHS legislative requirements and Codes of Practice
  • hazard identification and risk assessment and control.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy holistically all of the requirements of the performance criteria and required skills and knowledge and include achievement of the following:

  • collect plant specimens
  • note the location, characteristics and occurrence of specimens at the point of collection
  • clean, preserve, mount and label plant specimens
  • use a plant key to identify plants against the botanical description of the species
  • label preserved specimens.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency requires the application of work practices under work conditions. Selection and use of resources for some worksites may differ due to the regional or enterprise circumstances.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole.

Information to be recorded for each specimen may include:

  • information that identifies the particular specimen
  • information that describes the plant
  • information that outlines the location of the plant specimen
  • information that describes the ecological characteristics of the area.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 


Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field 

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