Degree course: 
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (72 hours)

No specific scientific knowledge is required, although reference will be made to basic concepts of Cell Biology, Ecology, Biogeography and Physical Geography as illustrated in other courses.

Final Examination: 

Evaluation of knowledge and skills acquired by students will take place at the end of the course with two tests, namely through a written test and a oral discussion, at the end of which a single vote expressed in thirtyths will be recorded.
The written test will be held in classroom without the help of notes or books and will cover 10 open-end questions. Students will have 2 hours at their disposal.
The final evaluation will take into account the acquired knowledge (60%), as well as the ability to organize and illustrate the arguments (20%) by mean of the written test, the ability to apply theoretical concepts to real cases (10%) and communicative skills (10%), by mean of the final oral discussion.

Voto Finale

General aim of the course is to provide knowledge about relationships between plant species and communities and the environment. The educational itinerary moves across different levels of organization of the plant world, from the sub-cellular one of the specific organelles of plants to those concerning groups of individuals, applying principles and notions of biology, ecology, bioclimatology and biogeography. The specific objective is to define and ecologically characterize main plant communities belonging to Italian vegetation, constantly referring to the European context, and to provide tools for their sampling, identification and description. In such way, are laid out bases for the recognition of natural habitats in accordance with the Community directive 43/92/EC and for the interpretation of environmental quality through plant species and communities, while providing criteria for conservation, management and recovery of vegetation. Expected learning outcomes relate to the capability to recognize plant organisms peculiarities, to classify plant communities and to assess their relationship with environmental drivers, providing basis for integrated environmental analysis. Students must therefore achieve the ability to apply the acquired knowledge as fundamentals for ecosystems management, monitoring and mapping, starting from plant species and communities analysis.

Module of Basic Plant Biology (16 hours)
Plant cells characteristics, with particular reference to plastids, cell wall and vacuole
Classification and characteristics of plant tissues: meristematic tissues (primary and secondary) and permanent tissues (parenchyma, protective, sclerenchyma, collenchyma, transport, secretory)
Anatomy and adaptation of main organs of higher plants (leaf, stem and root)
Main plant physiological functions (photosynthesis, mineral nutrition and transport)
Module of Plant Ecology (16 hours)
Life forms and their distribution in respect of latitudinal and altitude gradients
Biotic interactions and metabolism
Pollination, dispersion and life cycle
Concepts of optimum and niche applied to plants
Soil and climate drivers, disturbance and stress
Plant functional types and plant strategies
Global spectrum of plant form and function
Concepts of plant community, formation and association
Vegetation sampling and analysis, the phytosociological method
Vegetation dynamic, successions and series
Module of Plant Biogeography and Bioclimatology (16 hours)
Range, phytogeographical regions and distribution of plant biodiversity
Chorological types of Italian flora
Species concept applied to plants and main speciation processes
Endemism and vicariance
Climate and bioclimatic indices
Bio-climates and natural potential vegetation of Italy
Phytogeography of the Alps, timberline, vegetation belts and forest regions
Quaternary history of flora and vegetation
Module analysis of Italian vegetation (24 hours)
Vegetation of coasts and of the Mediterranean region
Wetland and riparian vegetation
Plain, hill and mountain broadleaf forests
Broadleaf shrubs and heathlands
Mountain and subalpine coniferous forests
Subalpine shrubs and heaths
Vegetation of the Alpine belt (prairies, snow beds, rocks and screes)
Synanthropic and semi-natural vegetation (meadows and pastures)
Principles of farming and forestry
Introduction to natural habitats of the Community Directive 43/92/EC

Presentations of the lessons are available to students in pdf format on the e-learning platform of the course
Recommended texts (general):
Evert R.F., Eichhorn S.E. (2013) Biologia delle piante di Raven (VII edizione italiana). ZANICHELLI
Rost T.L., Barbour M.G., Stocking C.R., Murphy T.M. (2008) Biologia delle piante. ZANICHELLI
Sadava D., Hillis D.M., Heller H.C., Berenbaum M.R. (2014) Biologia (IV edizione italiana) Volume 4 La biologia delle piante. ZANICHELLI
Pignatti S. (1997) Ecologia del Paesaggio. UTET
Strasburger E. (2007) Trattato di botanica. Vol. 2: Evoluzione sistematica ed ecologia. Antonio Delfino Editore
Recommended texts (vegetation):
Blasi C., Biondi E. (2017) La flora in Italia. MATTM - Sapienza Università Editrice, Roma
Polunin O., Walters M. (1987) Guida alle vegetazioni d'Europa. Zanichelli
Reisigl H., Keller R. (1995) Guida al bosco di montagna. Zanichelli
Suggested texts for further information (general):
Grime J.P., Pierce S. (2012) The Evolutionary Strategies that Shape Ecosystems. Wiley-Blackwell
Pignatti S. (1997) Ecologia del Paesaggio. UTET
Smith T.M., Smith R.L. (2009) Elementi di Ecologia. Pearson Ed.
Zunino M., Zullini A. (2004) Biogeografia. La dimensione spaziale dell’evoluzione. Casa Editrice Ambrosiana
Suggested texts for further information (vegetation):
Ellenberg H. (2009) Vegetation Ecology of Central Europe. Cambridge University Press
Ozenda P. (1994) Végétation du Continent Européen. Delachaux et Niestlè
Pignatti S. (1998) I boschi d'Italia (Sinecologia e biodiversità). UTET
Reisigl H., Keller R. (1990) Fiori e ambienti delle Alpi. Arti Grafiche Saturnia


The course objectives will be achieved through classroom lessons for 72 hours in total.
At students request, at the start of each lesson the teacher will provide clarifications and insights concerning topics discussed in previous lessons. It will be also possible to ask for clarification at any time during lessons.

Teacher is always available for urgent matters at the e-mail address Using the same e-mail address is also possible to arrange meetings in the teacher's office placed by DiSTA via J.H. Dunant, 3 in Varese (third floor)