Merit Badge Requirements Merit Badge History
Plant Science Merit Badge Workbook
This Scoutmaster Bucky Merit Badge Workbook is based off the 2021 Scouts BSA Requirements.
Type your work on this page or download the Plant Science Workbook PDF.

Consider also using the Plant Science merit badge class preparation page for clarification and expections when participating in a Scoutmaster Bucky merit badge opportunity (online or in-person).

Scout's Name:
Requirement 1: Make a drawing and identify five or more parts of a flowering plant. Tell what each part does.
Requirement 2: Explain photosynthesis and tell why this process is important. Tell at least five ways that humans depend on plants.
Requirement 3: Explain how honeybees and other pollinating insects are important to plant life.
Requirement 4: Explain how water, light, air, temperature, and pests affect plants. Describe the nature and function of soil and explain its importance. Tell about the texture, structure, and composition of fertile soil. Tell how soil may be improved.
Requirement 5: Tell how to propagate plants by seeds, roots, cuttings, tubers, and grafting. Grow a plant by ONE of these methods.
Requirement 6: List by common name at least 10 native plants and 10 cultivated plants that grow near your home. List five invasive, nonnative plants in your area and tell how they may be harmful. Tell how the spread of invasive plants may be avoided or controlled in ways that are not damaging to humans, wildlife, and the environment.
Requirement 7: Name and tell about careers in agronomy, horticulture, and botany. Write a paragraph about a career in one of these fields that interests you.
Requirement 8: Choose ONE of the following options and complete each requirement:

Option 1: Agronomy

Requirement 8A: Describe how to prepare a seedbed.
Requirement 8B: Make and use a seed germination tester to test 50 seeds of four of the following plants: corn, cotton, alfalfa, soybeans, clover, wheat, rice, rye, barley. Determine the percentage of live seeds.
Requirement 8C: Tell about one important insect pest and one important disease that damage each of the following: corn, small grains, cotton. Collect and name five weeds that compete with crops in your locality. Tell how to control these weeds without harming people, wildlife, or useful insects.
Requirement 8D: On a map of the United States, identify the chief regions where corn, cotton, forage crops, small grain crops, and oil crops grow. Tell how climate and location of these regions make them leaders in the production of these crops.
Requirement 8E: Complete ONE of the following alternatives:
Requirement 8E1: Corn
Requirement 8E1a: Grow a plot of corn and have your plot inspected by your counselor. Record seed variety or experimental code number.
Requirement 8E1b: Tell about modern methods of commercial corn farming and the contributions that corn makes to today’s food and fuel supply.
Requirement 8E1c: Tell about an insect that can damage corn, and explain how it affects corn production and how it is controlled.
Requirement 8E2: Cotton
Requirement 8E2a: Grow a plot of cotton and have your plot inspected by your counselor.
Requirement 8E2b: Tell about modern methods of commercial cotton farming, and about the uses of cotton fiber and seed and the economic value of this crop.
Requirement 8E2c: Tell about an insect that can damage cotton, and explain how it affects cotton production and how it is controlled.
Requirement 8E3: Forage Crops
Requirement 8E3a: Collect, count, and label samples of each for display: perennial grasses, annual grasses, legumes, and broadleaf weeds. Indicate how each grass and legume is used. Keep a log of the site where you found each sample and share it with your counselor.
Requirement 8E3b: Explain how legumes can be used to enrich the soil and how they may deplete it under certain conditions. Explain how livestock may enrich or deplete the soil.
Requirement 8E3c: Name five poisonous plants that are dangerous to livestock, and tell the different ways of using forage crops as feed for livestock.
Requirement 8E4: Small Grains
Requirement 8E4a: Give production figures for small grain crops listed in the U.S. Statistical Report or Agricultural Statistics Handbook for the latest year available.
Requirement 8E4b: Help in harvesting a crop of grain. Tell how to reduce harvesting losses and about modern methods of growing one small grain crop.
Requirement 8E4c: Visit a grain elevator, flour mill, cereal plant, feed or seed company. Talk with the operator. Take notes, and describe the processes used and tell your patrol, troop, or class about your visit.
Requirement 8E5: Oil Crops
Requirement 8E5a: Grow a plot of soybeans and have your plot inspected by your counselor.
Requirement 8E5b: Tell about modern methods of growing soybeans on a commercial scale, and discuss the contributions soybeans make to our food supply.
Requirement 8E5c: Explain why a killing frost just after emergence is critical for soybeans.

Option 2: Horticulture

Requirement 8A: Visit one of the following places and tell what you learned about horticulture there: public garden, arboretum, retail nursery, wholesale nursery, production greenhouse, or conservatory greenhouse.
Requirement 8B: Explain the following terms: hardiness zone, shade tolerance, pH, moisture requirement, native habitat, texture, cultivar, ultimate size, disease resistance, habit, evergreen, deciduous, annual, perennial. Find out what hardiness zone you live in and list 10 landscape plants you like that are suitable for your climate, giving the common name and scientific name for each.
Requirement 8C: Do ONE of the following:
Requirement 8C1: Explain the difference between vegetative and sexual propagation methods, and tell some horticultural advantages of each. Grow a plant from a stem or root cutting or graft.
Requirement 8C2: Transplant 12 seedlings or rooted cuttings to larger containers and grow them for at least one month.
Requirement 8C3: Demonstrate good pruning techniques and tell why pruning is important.
Requirement 8C4: After obtaining permission, plant a tree or shrub properly in an appropriate site.
Requirement 8D: Do EACH of the following:
Requirement 8D1: Explain the importance of good landscape design and selection of plants that are suitable for particular sites and conditions.
Requirement 8D2: Tell why it is important to know how big a plant will grow.
Requirement 8D3: Tell why slower-growing landscape plants are sometimes a better choice than faster-growing varieties.
Requirement 8E: Choose ONE of the following alternatives and complete EACH of the requirements:
Requirement 8E1: Bedding Plants
Requirement 8E1a: Grow bedding plants appropriate for your area in pots or flats from seed or cuttings in a manufactured soil mix. Explain why you chose the mix and tell what is in it.
Requirement 8E1b: Transplant plants to a bed in the landscape and maintain the bed until the end of the growing season. Record your activities, observations, materials used, and costs.
Requirement 8E1c: Demonstrate mulching, fertilizing, watering, weeding, and deadheading, and tell how each practice helps your plants.
Requirement 8E1d: Tell some differences between gardening with annuals and perennials.
Requirement 8E2: Fruit, Berry, and Nut Crops
Requirement 8E2a: Plant five fruit or nut trees, grapevines, or berry plants that are suited to your area. Take full care of fruit or nut trees, grapevines, or berry plants through one season.
Requirement 8E2b: Prune a tree, vine, or shrub properly. Explain why pruning is necessary.
Requirement 8E2c: Demonstrate one type of graft and tell why this method is useful.
Requirement 8E2d: Describe how one fruit, nut, or berry crop is processed for use.
Requirement 8E3: Woody Ornamentals
Requirement 8E3a: Plant five or more trees or shrubs in a landscape setting. Take full care of the trees or shrubs you have planted for one growing season.
Requirement 8E3b: Prune a tree or shrub properly. Explain why pruning is necessary.
Requirement 8E3c: List 10 trees (in addition to those listed in general requirement 5 above) and tell your counselor how each is used in the landscape. Give the common and scientific names.
Requirement 8E3d: Describe the size, texture, color, flowers, leaves, fruit, hardiness, cultural requirements, and any special characteristics that make each type of tree or shrub attractive or interesting.
Requirement 8E3e: Tell five ways trees help improve the quality of our environment.
Requirement 8E4: Home Gardening
Requirement 8E4a: Design and plant a garden or landscape that is at least 10 by 10 feet.
Requirement 8E4b: Plant 10 or more different types of plants in your garden. Tell why you selected particular varieties of vegetables and flowers. Take care of the plants in your garden for one season.
Requirement 8E4c: Demonstrate soil preparation, staking, watering, weeding, mulching, composting, fertilizing, pest management, and pruning. Tell why each technique is used.
Requirement 8E4d: Tell four types of things you could provide to make your home landscape or park a better place for birds and wildlife. List the common and scientific names of 10 kinds of native plants that are beneficial to birds and wildlife in your area.

Option 3: Field Botany

Requirement 8A: Visit a park, forest, Scout camp, or other natural area near your home. While you are there:
Requirement 8A1: Determine which species of plants are the largest and which are the most abundant. Note whether they cast shade on other plants.
Requirement 8A2: Record environmental factors that may influence the presence of plants on your site, including latitude, climate, air and soil temperature, soil type and pH, geology, hydrology, and topography.
Requirement 8A3: Record any differences in the types of plants you see at the edge of a forest, near water, in burned areas, or near a road or railroad.
Requirement 8B: Select a study site that is at least 100 by 100 feet. Make a list of the plants in the study site by groups of plants: canopy trees, small trees, shrubs, herbaceous wildflowers and grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, algae, fungi, lichens. Find out which of these are native plants and which are exotic (or nonnative).
Requirement 8C: Tell how an identification key works and use a simple key to identify 10 kinds of plants (in addition to those in general requirement 5 above). Tell the difference between common and scientific names and tell why scientific names are important.
Requirement 8D: After gaining permission, collect, identify, press, mount, and label 10 different plants that are common in your area. Tell why voucher specimens are important for documentation of a field botanist’s discoveries.
Requirement 8E: Obtain a list of rare plants of your state. Tell what is being done to protect rare plants and natural areas in your state. Write a paragraph about one of the rare plants in your state.
Requirement 8F: Choose ONE of the following alternatives and complete EACH of its requirements:
Requirement 8F1: Tree Inventory
Requirement 8F1a: Identify the trees of your neighborhood, a park, a section of your town, or a Scout camp.
Requirement 8F1b: Collect, press, and label leaves, flowers, or fruits to document your inventory.
Requirement 8F1c: List the types of trees by scientific name and give common names. Note the number and size (diameter at 4 feet above ground) of trees observed and determine the largest of each species in your study area.
Requirement 8F1d: Lead a walk to teach others about trees and their value, OR write and distribute materials that will help others learn about trees.
Requirement 8F2: Transect Study
Requirement 8F2a: Visit two sites, at least one of which is different from the one you visited for Field Botany requirement 1.
Requirement 8F2b: Use the transect method to study the two different kinds of plant communities. The transects should be at least 500 feet long.
Requirement 8F2c: At each site, record observations about the soil and other influencing factors AND do the following. Then make a graph or chart to show the results of your studies.
Requirement 8F2c1: Identify each tree within 10 feet of the transect line.
Requirement 8F2c2: Measure the diameter of each tree at 4 feet above the ground, and map and list each tree.
Requirement 8F3: Nested Plot
Requirement 8F3a: Visit two sites, at least one of which is different from the one you visited for Field Botany requirement 1.
Requirement 8F3b: Mark off nested plots and inventory two different kinds of plant communities.
Requirement 8F3c: At each site, record observations about the soil and other influencing factors AND do the following. Then make a graph or chart to show the results of your studies.
Requirement 8F3c1: Identify, measure, and map each tree in a 100-by-100-foot plot. (Measure the diameter of each tree at 4 feet above the ground.)
Requirement 8F3c2: Identify and map all trees and shrubs in a 10-by-10-foot plot within each of the larger areas.
Requirement 8F3c3: Identify and map all plants (wildflowers, ferns, grasses, mosses, etc.) of a 4-by-4-foot plot within the 10-by-10-foot plot.
Requirement 8F4: Herbarium Visit
Requirement 8F4a: Write ahead and arrange to visit an herbarium at a university, park, or botanical garden; OR, visit an herbarium Web site (with your parent’s permission).
Requirement 8F4b: Tell how the specimens are arranged and how they are used by researchers. If possible, observe voucher specimens of a plant that is rare in your state.
Requirement 8F4c: Tell how a voucher specimen is mounted and prepared for permanent storage. Tell how specimens should be handled so that they will not be damaged.
Requirement 8F4d: Tell about the tools and references used by botanists in an herbarium.
Requirement 8F5: Plant Conservation Organization Visit
Requirement 8F5a: Write ahead and arrange to visit a private conservation organization or government agency that is concerned with protecting rare plants and natural areas.
Requirement 8F5b: Tell about the activities of the organization in studying and protecting rare plants and natural areas.
Requirement 8F5c: If possible, visit a nature preserve managed by the organization. Tell about land management activities such as controlled burning, or measures to eradicate invasive (nonnative) plants or other threats to the plants that are native to the area.