Botany

Botany

Overview

Botany, plant science(s), or plant biology is a branch of biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 that involves the scientific study
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 of plant life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses. Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines including structure
Plant anatomy
Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. While originally it included plant morphology, which is the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, since the mid-20th century the investigations of plant anatomy are...

, growth
Cell growth
The term cell growth is used in the contexts of cell development and cell division . When used in the context of cell division, it refers to growth of cell populations, where one cell grows and divides to produce two "daughter cells"...

, reproduction, metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

, development
Morphogenesis
Morphogenesis , is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape...

, diseases
Phytopathology
Plant pathology is the scientific study of plant diseases caused by pathogens and environmental conditions . Organisms that cause infectious disease include fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses, viroids, virus-like organisms, phytoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes and parasitic plants...

, chemical properties, and evolutionary relationships among taxonomic groups. Botany began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science.
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Botany, plant science(s), or plant biology is a branch of biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 that involves the scientific study
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 of plant life
Life
Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased , or else because they lack such functions and are classified as inanimate...

. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses. Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines including structure
Plant anatomy
Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. While originally it included plant morphology, which is the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, since the mid-20th century the investigations of plant anatomy are...

, growth
Cell growth
The term cell growth is used in the contexts of cell development and cell division . When used in the context of cell division, it refers to growth of cell populations, where one cell grows and divides to produce two "daughter cells"...

, reproduction, metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

, development
Morphogenesis
Morphogenesis , is the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape...

, diseases
Phytopathology
Plant pathology is the scientific study of plant diseases caused by pathogens and environmental conditions . Organisms that cause infectious disease include fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses, viroids, virus-like organisms, phytoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes and parasitic plants...

, chemical properties, and evolutionary relationships among taxonomic groups. Botany began with early human efforts to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science. Today botanists study over 550,000 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

 of living organisms.

The term "botany" comes from Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 βοτάνη, meaning "pasture
Pasture
Pasture is land used for grazing. Pasture lands in the narrow sense are enclosed tracts of farmland, grazed by domesticated livestock, such as horses, cattle, sheep or swine. The vegetation of tended pasture, forage, consists mainly of grasses, with an interspersion of legumes and other forbs...

, grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

, fodder
Fodder
Fodder or animal feed is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin...

", perhaps via the idea of a livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 keeper needing to know which plants are safe for livestock to eat.

Scope and importance of botany


As with other life forms in biology, plant life can be studied from different perspectives, from the molecular
Molecular biology
Molecular biology is the branch of biology that deals with the molecular basis of biological activity. This field overlaps with other areas of biology and chemistry, particularly genetics and biochemistry...

, genetic
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 and biochemical
Biochemistry
Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes...

 level through organelle
Organelle
In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit within a cell that has a specific function, and is usually separately enclosed within its own lipid bilayer....

s, cells
Cell biology
Cell biology is a scientific discipline that studies cells – their physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level...

, tissues
Biological tissue
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

, organs
Organ (anatomy)
In biology, an organ is a collection of tissues joined in structural unit to serve a common function. Usually there is a main tissue and sporadic tissues . The main tissue is the one that is unique for the specific organ. For example, main tissue in the heart is the myocardium, while sporadic are...

, individuals, plant population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

s, and communities of plants. At each of these levels a botanist might be concerned with the classification (taxonomy
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

), structure (anatomy
Plant anatomy
Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. While originally it included plant morphology, which is the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, since the mid-20th century the investigations of plant anatomy are...

 and morphology
Plant morphology
Plant morphology or phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plants. This is usually considered distinct from plant anatomy, which is the study of the internal structure of plants, especially at the microscopic level...

), or function (physiology
Plant physiology
Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning, or physiology, of plants. Closely related fields include plant morphology , plant ecology , phytochemistry , cell biology, and molecular biology.Fundamental processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition,...

) of plant life.

Historically all living things were grouped as animals or plants, and botany covered all organisms not considered animal
Animal
Animals are a major group of multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their life. Most animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and...

s. Some organisms included in the field of botany are no longer considered to belong to the plant kingdom
Kingdom (biology)
In biology, kingdom is a taxonomic rank, which is either the highest rank or in the more recent three-domain system, the rank below domain. Kingdoms are divided into smaller groups called phyla or divisions in botany...

 – these include bacteria (studied in bacteriology
Bacteriology
Bacteriology is the study of bacteria. This subdivision of microbiology involves the identification, classification, and characterization of bacterial species...

), fungi (mycology
Mycology
Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicinals , food and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or...

) including lichen
Lichen
Lichens are composite organisms consisting of a symbiotic organism composed of a fungus with a photosynthetic partner , usually either a green alga or cyanobacterium...

-forming fungi (lichenology
Lichenology
Lichenology is the branch of mycology that studies the lichens, symbiotic organisms made up of an intimate symbiotic association of a microscopic alga with a filamentous fungus....

), non-chlorophyte
Chlorophyta
Chlorophyta is a division of green algae, informally called chlorophytes. The name is used in two very different senses so that care is needed to determine the use by a particular author...

 algae (phycology
Phycology
Phycology is the scientific study of algae. Phycology is a branch of life science and often is regarded as a subdiscipline of botany....

) and viruses (virology
Virology
Virology is the study of viruses and virus-like agents: their structure, classification and evolution, their ways to infect and exploit cells for virus reproduction, the diseases they cause, the techniques to isolate and culture them, and their use in research and therapy...

). However, attention is still given to these groups by botanists, and fungi (including lichens), and photosynthetic
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

 protists are usually covered in introductory botany courses.

The study of plants is vital because they are a fundamental part of life on Earth
Life on Earth
Life on Earth: A Natural History by David Attenborough is a television natural history series made by the BBC in association with Warner Bros. and Reiner Moritz Productions...

, which generates the oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

, fibres, fuel and medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

 that allow humans and other life forms to exist. Through photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

, plants absorb carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

, a greenhouse gas
Greenhouse gas
A greenhouse gas is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The primary greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone...

 that in large amounts can affect global climate. Additionally, they prevent soil erosion and are influential in the water cycle
Water cycle
The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle or H2O cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above and below the surface of the Earth. Water can change states among liquid, vapor, and solid at various places in the water cycle...

. A good understanding of plants is crucial to the future of human societies as it allows us to:
  • Produce food to feed an expanding population
  • Understand fundamental life processes
  • Produce medicine and materials to treat diseases and other ailments
  • Understand environmental changes more clearly


Paleobotanists
Paleobotany
Paleobotany, also spelled as palaeobotany , is the branch of paleontology or paleobiology dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments , and both the evolutionary history of plants, with a...

 study ancient plants in the fossil record. It is believed that early in the Earth's history, the evolution of photosynthetic plants altered the global atmosphere
Atmosphere
An atmosphere is a layer of gases that may surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body. An atmosphere may be retained for a longer duration, if the gravity is high and the atmosphere's temperature is low...

 of the earth, changing the ancient atmosphere by oxidation.

Human nutrition


Virtually all foods eaten come from plants, either directly from staple food
Staple food
A staple food is one that is eaten regularly and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a diet, and that supplies a high proportion of energy and nutrient needs. Most people live on a diet based on one or more staples...

s and other fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 and vegetables, or indirectly through livestock
Livestock
Livestock refers to one or more domesticated animals raised in an agricultural setting to produce commodities such as food, fiber and labor. The term "livestock" as used in this article does not include poultry or farmed fish; however the inclusion of these, especially poultry, within the meaning...

 or other animals, which rely on plants for their nutrition. Plants are the fundamental base of nearly all food chain
Food chain
A food web depicts feeding connections in an ecological community. Ecologists can broadly lump all life forms into one of two categories called trophic levels: 1) the autotrophs, and 2) the heterotrophs...

s because they use the energy from the sun and nutrients from the soil and atmosphere, converting them into a form that can be consumed and utilized by animals; this is what ecologists call the first trophic level
Trophic level
The trophic level of an organism is the position it occupies in a food chain. The word trophic derives from the Greek τροφή referring to food or feeding. A food chain represents a succession of organisms that eat another organism and are, in turn, eaten themselves. The number of steps an organism...

. Botanists also study how plants produce food we can eat and how to increase yields and therefore their work is important in mankind's ability to feed the world and provide food security
Food security
Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. According to the World Resources Institute, global per capita food production has been increasing substantially for the past...

 for future generations, for example, through plant breeding
Plant breeding
Plant breeding is the art and science of changing the genetics of plants in order to produce desired characteristics. Plant breeding can be accomplished through many different techniques ranging from simply selecting plants with desirable characteristics for propagation, to more complex molecular...

. Botanists also study weed
Weed
A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas. More specifically, the term is often used to...

s, plants which are considered to be a nuisance in a particular location. Weeds are a considerable problem in agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, and botany provides some of the basic science used to understand how to minimize 'weed' impact in agriculture and native ecosystems. Ethnobotany
Ethnobotany
Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants....

 is the study of the relationships between plants and people, and when this kind of study is turned to the investigation of plant-people relationships in past times, it is referred to as archaeobotany or paleoethnobotany
Paleoethnobotany
Paleoethnobotany, also known as archaeobotany in European academic circles, is the archaeological sub-field that studies plant remains from archaeological sites...

.

Fundamental life processes


Plants are convenient organisms in which fundamental life processes (like cell division
Cell division
Cell division is the process by which a parent cell divides into two or more daughter cells . Cell division is usually a small segment of a larger cell cycle. This type of cell division in eukaryotes is known as mitosis, and leaves the daughter cell capable of dividing again. The corresponding sort...

 and protein synthesis) can be studied, without the ethical dilemmas of studying animals or humans. The genetic laws of inheritance
Mendelian inheritance
Mendelian inheritance is a scientific description of how hereditary characteristics are passed from parent organisms to their offspring; it underlies much of genetics...

 were discovered in this way by Gregor Mendel
Gregor Mendel
Gregor Johann Mendel was an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar who gained posthumous fame as the founder of the new science of genetics. Mendel demonstrated that the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants follows particular patterns, now referred to as the laws of Mendelian inheritance...

, who was studying the way pea
PEAS
P.E.A.S. is an acronym in artificial intelligence that stands for Performance, Environment, Actuators, Sensors.-Performance:Performance is a function that measures the quality of the actions the agent did....

 shape and other traits are inherited. What Mendel learned from studying plants has had far reaching benefits outside of botany. Additionally, Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock
Barbara McClintock , the 1983 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, was an American scientist and one of the world's most distinguished cytogeneticists. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927, where she was a leader in the development of maize cytogenetics...

 discovered 'jumping genes'
Transposon
Transposable elements are sequences of DNA that can move or transpose themselves to new positions within the genome of a single cell. The mechanism of transposition can be either "copy and paste" or "cut and paste". Transposition can create phenotypically significant mutations and alter the cell's...

 by studying maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

. These are a few examples that demonstrate how botanical research has an ongoing relevance to the understanding of fundamental biological processes.

Medicine and materials


Many medicinal
Medication
A pharmaceutical drug, also referred to as medicine, medication or medicament, can be loosely defined as any chemical substance intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment, or prevention of disease.- Classification :...

 and recreational drugs, like tetrahydrocannabinol
Tetrahydrocannabinol
Tetrahydrocannabinol , also known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , Δ1-THC , or dronabinol, is the main chemical psychoactive substance found in the cannabis plant. It was first isolated in 1964. In pure form, it is a glassy solid when cold, and becomes viscous and sticky if warmed...

, caffeine
Caffeine
Caffeine is a bitter, white crystalline xanthine alkaloid that acts as a stimulant drug. Caffeine is found in varying quantities in the seeds, leaves, and fruit of some plants, where it acts as a natural pesticide that paralyzes and kills certain insects feeding on the plants...

, and nicotine
Nicotine
Nicotine is an alkaloid found in the nightshade family of plants that constitutes approximately 0.6–3.0% of the dry weight of tobacco, with biosynthesis taking place in the roots and accumulation occurring in the leaves...

 come directly from the plant kingdom. Others are simple derivatives
Derivative (chemistry)
In chemistry, a derivative is a compound that is derived from a similar compound by some chemical or physical process. In the past it was also used to mean a compound that can be imagined to arise from another compound, if one atom is replaced with another atom or group of atoms, but modern...

 of botanical natural products; for example, aspirin
Aspirin
Aspirin , also known as acetylsalicylic acid , is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication. It was discovered by Arthur Eichengrun, a chemist with the German company Bayer...

 is based on the pain killer salicylic acid
Salicylic acid
Salicylic acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid, a type of phenolic acid and a beta hydroxy acid. This colorless crystalline organic acid is widely used in organic synthesis and functions as a plant hormone. It is derived from the metabolism of salicin...

 which originally came from the bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

 of willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

 trees. As well, the narcotic
Narcotic
The term narcotic originally referred medically to any psychoactive compound with any sleep-inducing properties. In the United States of America it has since become associated with opioids, commonly morphine and heroin and their derivatives, such as hydrocodone. The term is, today, imprecisely...

 analgesics such as morphine
Morphine
Morphine is a potent opiate analgesic medication and is considered to be the prototypical opioid. It was first isolated in 1804 by Friedrich Sertürner, first distributed by same in 1817, and first commercially sold by Merck in 1827, which at the time was a single small chemists' shop. It was more...

 are derived from the opium poppy
Opium poppy
Opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, is the species of plant from which opium and poppy seeds are extracted. Opium is the source of many opiates, including morphine , thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine...

.
There may be many novel cures for diseases
Drug discovery
In the fields of medicine, biotechnology and pharmacology, drug discovery is the process by which drugs are discovered or designed.In the past most drugs have been discovered either by identifying the active ingredient from traditional remedies or by serendipitous discovery...

 provided by plants, waiting to be discovered. Popular stimulant
Stimulant
Stimulants are psychoactive drugs which induce temporary improvements in either mental or physical function or both. Examples of these kinds of effects may include enhanced alertness, wakefulness, and locomotion, among others...

s like coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

, chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, and tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 also come from plants. Most alcoholic beverage
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

s come from fermenting
Fermentation (food)
Fermentation in food processing typically is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria, or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation in simple terms is the chemical conversion of sugars into ethanol...

 plants such as barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 (beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

), rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 (sake) and grapes (wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

).

Plants also provide us with many natural materials, such as hemp
Hemp
Hemp is mostly used as a name for low tetrahydrocannabinol strains of the plant Cannabis sativa, of fiber and/or oilseed varieties. In modern times, hemp has been used for industrial purposes including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, health food and fuel with modest...

, cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, wood
Wood
Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many trees. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression...

, paper
Paper
Paper is a thin material mainly used for writing upon, printing upon, drawing or for packaging. It is produced by pressing together moist fibers, typically cellulose pulp derived from wood, rags or grasses, and drying them into flexible sheets....

, linen
Linen
Linen is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant, Linum usitatissimum. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather....

, vegetable oils, some types of rope
Rope
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength...

, and rubber
Rubber
Natural rubber, also called India rubber or caoutchouc, is an elastomer that was originally derived from latex, a milky colloid produced by some plants. The plants would be ‘tapped’, that is, an incision made into the bark of the tree and the sticky, milk colored latex sap collected and refined...

. The production of silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 would not be possible without the cultivation of the mulberry
Mulberry
Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae. The 10–16 species of deciduous trees it contains are commonly known as Mulberries....

 plant. Sugarcane
Sugarcane
Sugarcane refers to any of six to 37 species of tall perennial grasses of the genus Saccharum . Native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, they have stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres tall...

, rapeseed
Rapeseed
Rapeseed , also known as rape, oilseed rape, rapa, rappi, rapaseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae...

, soy and other plants with a highly fermentable sugar or oil content have recently been put to use as sources of biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s, which are important alternatives to fossil fuel
Fossil fuel
Fossil fuels are fuels formed by natural processes such as anaerobic decomposition of buried dead organisms. The age of the organisms and their resulting fossil fuels is typically millions of years, and sometimes exceeds 650 million years...

s (see biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

).

Environmental changes


Plants can also help us understand changes in on our environment in many ways.
  • Understanding habitat destruction
    Habitat destruction
    Habitat destruction is the process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present. In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity. Habitat destruction by human activity mainly for the purpose of...

     and species extinction
    Endangered species
    An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

     is dependent on an accurate and complete catalog of plant systematics
    Systematics
    Biological systematics is the study of the diversification of terrestrial life, both past and present, and the relationships among living things through time. Relationships are visualized as evolutionary trees...

     and taxonomy.
  • Plant responses to ultraviolet radiation
    Ultraviolet
    Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

     can help us monitor problems like ozone depletion
    Ozone depletion
    Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related phenomena observed since the late 1970s: a steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's stratosphere , and a much larger springtime decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's polar regions. The latter phenomenon...

    .
  • Analyzing pollen
    Palynology
    Palynology is the science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, orbicules, dinoflagellate cysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts, together with particulate organic matter and kerogen found in sedimentary rocks and sediments...

     deposited by plants thousands or millions of years ago can help scientists to reconstruct past climates and predict future ones, an essential part of climate change
    Climate change
    Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

     research.
  • Recording and analyzing the timing of plant life cycles
    Biological life cycle
    A life cycle is a period involving all different generations of a species succeeding each other through means of reproduction, whether through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction...

     are important parts of phenology
    Phenology
    Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate...

     used in climate-change research.


In many different ways, plants can act a little like the 'miners' canary'
Domestic Canary
The Domestic Canary, often simply known as the canary, is a domesticated form of the wild Canary, a small songbird in the finch family originating from the Macaronesian Islands ....

, an early warning system alerting us to important changes in our environment. In addition to these practical and scientific reasons, plants are extremely valuable as recreation for millions of people who enjoy gardening
Gardening
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants. Ornamental plants are normally grown for their flowers, foliage, or overall appearance; useful plants are grown for consumption , for their dyes, or for medicinal or cosmetic use...

, horticultural
Horticulture
Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

 and culinary
Herb
Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

 uses of plants every day.

History




Early botany


The History of botany
History of botany
The history of botany examines the human effort to understand life on Earth by tracing the historical development of the discipline of botany—that part of natural science dealing with organisms traditionally treated as plants....

 begins with ancient writings on, and classifications of, plants. Such writings are found in several early cultures. Examples of early botanical works have been found in Ancient India
Ancient India
Ancient India may refer to:* The ancient history of India, which generally includes the ancient history of the Asian Subcontinent, including:*Science and technology in ancient India**Indian mathematics**Astronomy**List of Indian inventions...

n sacred texts, ancient Zoroastrian writings, and Ancient Chinese works.

The Greco-Roman world produced a number of botanical works including the Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum
Historia Plantarum is Latin and literally means History of Plants, although in reality it means something closer to "on plants" or "treatise on plants". There has been more than one book by this title....

 and De Materia Medica
Materia medica
Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing . The term 'materia medica' derived from the title of a work by the Ancient Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century AD, De materia medica libre...

.

Works from the medieval Muslim world included Ibn Wahshiyya
Ibn Wahshiyya
Ibn Wahshiyya was an Iraqi alchemist, agriculturalist, farm toxicologist, egyptologist and historian born at Qusayn near Kufa in Iraq.Ibn Wahshiyya was one of the first historians to be able to at least partly decipher what was written in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, by relating them to the...

's Nabatean Agriculture, Abū Ḥanīfa Dīnawarī's (828-896) the Book of Plants, and Ibn Bassal
Ibn Bassal
Ibn Bassal was a Moor botanist in Toledo and Seville, Spain who wrote about cultivation. Basal wrote the treatise The Classification of Soils which divided soil fertility into ten classifications...

's The Classification of Soils. In the early 13th century, Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, and Ibn al-Baitar (d. 1248) also wrote on botany.

Early modern botany



German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 physician Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs , sometimes spelled Leonhard Fuchs, was a German physician and one of the three founding fathers of botany, along with Otto Brunfels and Hieronymus Bock .-Biography:...

 (1501–1566) was one of the three founding fathers of botany, along with Otto Brunfels
Otto Brunfels
Otto Brunfels was a German theologian and botanist...

 (1489–1534) and Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock
Hieronymus Bock was a German botanist, physician, and Lutheran minister who began the transition from medieval botany to the modern scientific worldview by arranging plants by their relation or resemblance....

 (1498–1554) (also called Hieronymus Tragus).

Valerius Cordus
Valerius Cordus
Valerius Cordus was a German physician and botanist who authored one of the greatest pharmacopoeias and one of the most celebrated herbals in history...

 (1515–1544) authored a pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia
Pharmacopoeia, pharmacopeia, or pharmacopoea, , in its modern technical sense, is a book containing directions for the identification of samples and the preparation of compound medicines, and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical society.In a broader sense it is...

 of lasting importance, the Dispensatorium in 1546. As early as the 16th century, the Italian Ulisse Aldrovandi
Ulisse Aldrovandi
Ulisse Aldrovandi was an Italian naturalist, the moving force behind Bologna's botanical garden, one of the first in Europe. Carolus Linnaeus and the comte de Buffon reckoned him the father of natural history studies...

 was scientifically researching plants. In 1665, using an early microscope, Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke
Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

 discovered cells
Cell (biology)
The cell is the basic structural and functional unit of all known living organisms. It is the smallest unit of life that is classified as a living thing, and is often called the building block of life. The Alberts text discusses how the "cellular building blocks" move to shape developing embryos....

 in cork
Cork (material)
Cork is an impermeable, buoyant material, a prime-subset of bark tissue that is harvested for commercial use primarily from Quercus suber , which is endemic to southwest Europe and northwest Africa...

, and a short time later in living plant tissue. The Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

 Jacob Theodor Klein
Jacob Theodor Klein
Jacob Theodor Klein nickname Plinius Gedanensium was a Royal Prussian jurist, historian, botanist, mathematician and diplomat in service of Polish King August II the Strong.-Life:...

 and Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs
Leonhart Fuchs , sometimes spelled Leonhard Fuchs, was a German physician and one of the three founding fathers of botany, along with Otto Brunfels and Hieronymus Bock .-Biography:...

, the Swiss Conrad von Gesner, and the British author Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper was an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer. His published books include The English Physician and the Complete Herbal , which contain a rich store of pharmaceutical and herbal knowledge, and Astrological Judgement of Diseases from the Decumbiture of the Sick ,...

 published herbals covering the medicinal uses of plants.

During the 18th century, systems of classification became deliberately artificial and served only for the purpose of identification. These classifications are comparable to diagnostic keys, where taxa are artificially grouped in pairs by few, easily recognisable characters. The sequence of the taxa in keys is often totally unrelated to their natural or phyletic groupings. In the 18th century an increasing number of new plants had arrived in Europe, from newly discovered countries and the European colonies worldwide, and a larger amount of plants became available for study.

In 1754 Carl von Linné
Carolus Linnaeus
Carl Linnaeus , also known after his ennoblement as , was a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology...

 (Carl Linnaeus) divided the plant Kingdom into 25 classes. One, the Cryptogamia, included all plants with concealed reproductive parts (mosses, liverworts and ferns), and algae and fungi.

The increased knowledge on anatomy, morphology and life cycles, lead to the realization that there were more natural affinities between plants, than the sexual system of Linnaeus indicated. Adanson (1763), de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu
Antoine Laurent de Jussieu was a French botanist, notable as the first to propose a natural classification of flowering plants; much of his system remains in use today.-Life:...

 (1789), and Candolle (1819) all proposed various alternative natural systems that were widely followed. The ideas of natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 as a mechanism for evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 required adaptations to the Candollean system, which started the studies on evolutionary relationships and phylogenetic classifications of plants.

Botany was greatly stimulated by the appearance of the first “modern” text book, Matthias Schleiden
Matthias Jakob Schleiden
Matthias Jakob Schleiden was a German botanist and co-founder of the cell theory, along with Theodor Schwann and Rudolf Virchow....

's , published in English in 1849 as Principles of Scientific Botany. Carl Willdenow
Carl Ludwig Willdenow
Carl Ludwig Willdenow was a German botanist, pharmacist, and plant taxonomist. He is considered one of the founders of phytogeography, the study of the geographic distribution of plants...

 examined the connection between seed dispersal and distribution, the nature of plant associations and the impact of geological history. The cell nucleus was discovered by Robert Brown
Robert Brown (botanist)
Robert Brown was a Scottish botanist and palaeobotanist who made important contributions to botany largely through his pioneering use of the microscope...

 in 1831.

Modern botany


A considerable amount of new knowledge today is being generated from studying model plants like Arabidopsis thaliana
Arabidopsis thaliana
Arabidopsis thaliana is a small flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and northwestern Africa. A spring annual with a relatively short life cycle, arabidopsis is popular as a model organism in plant biology and genetics...

. This weedy species in the mustard family was one of the first plants to have its genome
Genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 sequenced. The sequencing of the rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

 (Oryza sativa) genome, its relatively small genome, and a large international research community have made rice an important cereal
Cereal
Cereals are grasses cultivated for the edible components of their grain , composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran...

/grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

/monocot model. Another grass species, Brachypodium distachyon
Brachypodium distachyon
Brachypodium distachyon, commonly called purple false brome, is a grass species native to southern Europe, northern Africa and southwestern Asia east to India. It is related to the major cereal grain species wheat, barley, oats, maize, rice, rye, sorghum, and millet...

is also emerging as an experimental model for understanding the genetic, cellular and molecular biology of temperate grasses. Other commercially important staple foods like wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, maize
Maize
Maize known in many English-speaking countries as corn or mielie/mealie, is a grain domesticated by indigenous peoples in Mesoamerica in prehistoric times. The leafy stalk produces ears which contain seeds called kernels. Though technically a grain, maize kernels are used in cooking as a vegetable...

, barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

, rye
Rye
Rye is a grass grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. It is a member of the wheat tribe and is closely related to barley and wheat. Rye grain is used for flour, rye bread, rye beer, some whiskeys, some vodkas, and animal fodder...

, pearl millet
Pearl millet
Pearl millet is the most widely grown type of millet. Grown in Africa and the Indian subcontinent since prehistoric times, it is generally accepted that pearl millet originated in Africa and was subsequently introduced into India. The center of diversity, and suggested area of domestication, for...

 and soybean
Soybean
The soybean or soya bean is a species of legume native to East Asia, widely grown for its edible bean which has numerous uses...

 are also having their genomes sequenced. Some of these are challenging to sequence because they have more than two haploid (n) sets of chromosome
Chromosome
A chromosome is an organized structure of DNA and protein found in cells. It is a single piece of coiled DNA containing many genes, regulatory elements and other nucleotide sequences. Chromosomes also contain DNA-bound proteins, which serve to package the DNA and control its functions.Chromosomes...

s, a condition known as polyploidy, common in the plant kingdom. Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a single celled green alga about 10 micrometres in diameter that swims with two flagella. They have a cell wall made of hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins, a large cup-shaped chloroplast, a large pyrenoid, and an "eyespot" that senses light.Although widely distributed...

(a single-celled, green alga
Algae
Algae are a large and diverse group of simple, typically autotrophic organisms, ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, such as the giant kelps that grow to 65 meters in length. They are photosynthetic like plants, and "simple" because their tissues are not organized into the many...

) is another plant model organism that has been extensively studied and provided important insights into cell biology.

In 1998 the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group
The Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, or APG, refers to an informal international group of systematic botanists who came together to try to establish a consensus on the taxonomy of flowering plants that would reflect new knowledge about plant relationships discovered through phylogenetic studies., three...

 published a phylogeny of flowering plants based on an analysis of DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 sequences from most families of flowering plants. As a result of this work, major questions such as which families represent the earliest branches in the genealogy of angiosperms are now understood. Investigating how plant species are related to each other allows botanists to better understand the process of evolution in plants.

Subdisciplines of botany

  • Agronomy
    Agronomy
    Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, feed, fiber, and reclamation. Agronomy encompasses work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. Agronomy is the application of a combination of sciences like biology,...

     — Application of plant science to crop production
  • Bryology
    Bryology
    Bryology is the branch of botany concerned with the scientific study of bryophytes . Bryophytes were first studied in detail in the 18th century...

     — Mosses, liverworts, and hornworts
  • Cryptobotany
    Cryptobotany
    Cryptobotany is the study of various exotic plants which are not believed to exist by the scientific community, but which exist in myth, literature or unsubstantiated reports....

     — Study of plants largely considered nonexistent
  • Economic botany
    Economic botany
    Economic botany can be very broadly defined as a study of relationships between plants and people. Economic botany contributes significantly to anthropology, biology, conservation, botany, and other fields of science...

     — Study of plants of economic use or value
  • Ethnobotany
    Ethnobotany
    Ethnobotany is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants....

     — Relationship between humans and plants
  • Forestry
    Forestry
    Forestry is the interdisciplinary profession embracing the science, art, and craft of creating, managing, using, and conserving forests and associated resources in a sustainable manner to meet desired goals, needs, and values for human benefit. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands...

     — Forest management and related studies
  • Horticulture
    Horticulture
    Horticulture is the industry and science of plant cultivation including the process of preparing soil for the planting of seeds, tubers, or cuttings. Horticulturists work and conduct research in the disciplines of plant propagation and cultivation, crop production, plant breeding and genetic...

     — Cultivated plants
  • Lichenology
    Lichenology
    Lichenology is the branch of mycology that studies the lichens, symbiotic organisms made up of an intimate symbiotic association of a microscopic alga with a filamentous fungus....

     — Lichens
  • Mycology
    Mycology
    Mycology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicinals , food and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as poisoning or...

     — Fungi
  • Paleobotany
    Paleobotany
    Paleobotany, also spelled as palaeobotany , is the branch of paleontology or paleobiology dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains from geological contexts, and their use for the biological reconstruction of past environments , and both the evolutionary history of plants, with a...

     — Fossil plants
  • Palynology
    Palynology
    Palynology is the science that studies contemporary and fossil palynomorphs, including pollen, spores, orbicules, dinoflagellate cysts, acritarchs, chitinozoans and scolecodonts, together with particulate organic matter and kerogen found in sedimentary rocks and sediments...

     — Pollen and spores
  • Phycology
    Phycology
    Phycology is the scientific study of algae. Phycology is a branch of life science and often is regarded as a subdiscipline of botany....

     — Algae
  • Phytochemistry
    Phytochemistry
    Phytochemistry is in the strict sense of the word the study of phytochemicals. These are chemicals derived from plants. In a narrower sense the terms are often used to describe the large number of secondary metabolic compounds found in plants. Many of these are known to provide protection against...

     — Plant secondary chemistry and chemical processes
  • Phytopathology
    Phytopathology
    Plant pathology is the scientific study of plant diseases caused by pathogens and environmental conditions . Organisms that cause infectious disease include fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses, viroids, virus-like organisms, phytoplasmas, protozoa, nematodes and parasitic plants...

     — Plant diseases
  • Plant anatomy
    Plant anatomy
    Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. While originally it included plant morphology, which is the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, since the mid-20th century the investigations of plant anatomy are...

     — Cell and tissue structure
  • Plant ecology
    Plant ecology
    Plant ecology is a subdiscipline of ecology which studies the distribution and abundance of plants, the interactions among and between members of plant species, and their interactions with their environment...

     — Role of plants in the environment
  • Plant genetics
    Plant genetics
    Plant genetics is a very broad term. There are many facets of genetics in general, and of course there are many facets to plants.The definition of genetics is the branch of biology that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited...

     — Genetic inheritance in plants
  • Plant morphology
    Plant morphology
    Plant morphology or phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plants. This is usually considered distinct from plant anatomy, which is the study of the internal structure of plants, especially at the microscopic level...

     — Structure and life cycles
  • Plant physiology
    Plant physiology
    Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning, or physiology, of plants. Closely related fields include plant morphology , plant ecology , phytochemistry , cell biology, and molecular biology.Fundamental processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition,...

     — Life functions of plants
  • Plant systematics
    Plant taxonomy
    Plant taxonomy is the science that finds, describes, classifies, identifies, and names plants. It thus is one of the main branches of taxonomy.Plant taxonomy is closely allied to plant systematics, and there is no sharp boundary between the two...

     — Classification and naming of plants

  • Notable botanists


    • Isabella Abbott
      Isabella Abbott
      Isabella Aiona Abbott , was an educator and ethnobotanist from Hawaii.The first native Hawaiian woman to receive a PhD in science,she became the leading expert on Pacific algae.-Early life:...

       (1919–2010), world's leading expert on Hawaiian seaweeds; discovered over 200 species.
    • Ibn al-Baitar (d. 1248), Andalusian-Arab scientist, botanist, pharmacist, physician, and author of one of the largest botanical encyclopedias.
    • L.J.F. Brimble
      L.J.F. Brimble
      Lionel John Farnham Brimble was a botanist, author, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and editor of Nature magazine.-Early life:...

       (1904–1965), English botanist and editor of Nature
      Nature (journal)
      Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

       magazine
    • Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati (c. 1200), Andalusian-Arab botanist and agricultural scientist, and a pioneer in experimental botany.
    • Aimé Bonpland
      Aimé Bonpland
      Aimé Jacques Alexandre Bonpland was a French explorer and botanist.Bonpland's real name was Goujaud, and he was born in La Rochelle, a coastal city in France. After serving as a surgeon in the French army, and studying under J. N...

       (1773–1858), French explorer and botanist, who accompanied Alexander von Humboldt
      Alexander von Humboldt
      Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt...

       during five years of travel in Latin America.
    • Luther Burbank
      Luther Burbank
      Luther Burbank was an American botanist, horticulturist and a pioneer in agricultural science.He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 54-year career. Burbank's varied creations included fruits, flowers, grains, grasses, and vegetables...

       (1849–1926), American botanist, horticulturist, and a pioneer in agricultural science.
    • Augustin Pyramus de Candolle (1778–1841), He originated the idea of "Nature's war", which influenced Charles Darwin
      Charles Darwin
      Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

      .
    • Abū Ḥanīfa Dīnawarī (828-896), Persian botanist, historian, geographer, astronomer, mathematician, and founder of Arabic botany.
    • David Douglas
      David Douglas
      David Douglas was a Scottish botanist. He worked as a gardener, and explored the Scottish Highlands, North America, and Hawaii, where he died.-Early life:...

       (1799–1834), Scottish botanical explorer of North America and China, who imported many ornamental plants into Europe.
    • Joseph Dalton Hooker
      Joseph Dalton Hooker
      Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker OM, GCSI, CB, MD, FRS was one of the greatest British botanists and explorers of the 19th century. Hooker was a founder of geographical botany, and Charles Darwin's closest friend...

       (1817–1911), English botanist and explorer. Second winner of Darwin Medal
      Darwin Medal
      The Darwin Medal is awarded by the Royal Society every alternate year for "work of acknowledged distinction in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked, notably in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity". First awarded in 1890, it was created in...

      .
    • Pedanius Dioscorides
      Pedanius Dioscorides
      Pedanius Dioscorides was a Greek physician, pharmacologist and botanist, the author of a 5-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine and related medicinal substances , that was widely read for more than 1,500 years.-Life:...

       (ca. 40-90 AD), physician, pharmacologist, toxicologist and botanist, author of Περὶ ὕλης ἰατρικής (Latin
      Latin
      Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

      : De Materia Medica
      Materia medica
      Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing . The term 'materia medica' derived from the title of a work by the Ancient Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides in the 1st century AD, De materia medica libre...

      , English
      English language
      English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

      : "Regarding Medical Matters")
    • Thomas Henry Huxley (1825–1895), English biologist, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin
      Charles Darwin
      Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

      's theory of evolution. Third winner of Darwin Medal
      Darwin Medal
      The Darwin Medal is awarded by the Royal Society every alternate year for "work of acknowledged distinction in the broad area of biology in which Charles Darwin worked, notably in evolution, population biology, organismal biology and biological diversity". First awarded in 1890, it was created in...

      .
    • Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of Binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.
    • Gregor Johann Mendel (1822–1884), Augustinian priest and scientist, and is often called the father of genetics
      Genetics
      Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

       for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants.
    • Charles Sprague Sargent
      Charles Sprague Sargent
      Charles Sprague Sargent was an American botanist. He was the first director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts and the standard botanical author abbreviation Sarg. is applied to plants he described.-Biography:Sargent was the second son of Henrietta and...

       (1841–1927), American botanist, the first director of the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University
      Harvard University
      Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

      .
    • Carlos Muñoz Pizarro
      Carlos Muñoz Pizarro
      Carlos Muñoz Pizarro was a Chilean botanist born in the city of Coquimbo and deceased on May 12, 1976 in New York City...

       (1913–1976), Chilean botanist, known for his studies of the Chilean flora, and its conservation.
    • Richard Spruce
      Richard Spruce
      Richard Spruce was an English botanist. One of the great Victorian botanical explorers, Spruce spent approximately 15 years exploring the Amazon from the Andes to the mouth, and was one of the first Europeans to visit many of the places where he collected specimens.The plants and objects collected...

       (1817–1893), English botanist and explorer who carried out a detailed study of the Amazon
      Amazon Rainforest
      The Amazon Rainforest , also known in English as Amazonia or the Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America...

       flora.
    • Agustín Stahl
      Agustín Stahl
      Dr. Agustín Stahl , was a medical doctor and the first renowned Puerto Rican scientist, with diverse interests in the fields of ethnology, botany and zoology. He advocated Puerto Rico's independence from Spain....

       (1842–1917), conducted investigations and experiments in the fields of ethnology
      Ethnology
      Ethnology is the branch of anthropology that compares and analyzes the origins, distribution, technology, religion, language, and social structure of the ethnic, racial, and/or national divisions of humanity.-Scientific discipline:Compared to ethnography, the study of single groups through direct...

      , and zoology
      Zoology
      Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

       in the Caribbean region.
    • George Ledyard Stebbins, Jr. (1906–2000), widely regarded as one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, developed a comprehensive synthesis of plant evolution incorporating genetics.
    • Theophrastus
      Theophrastus
      Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

        (c. 371 – c. 287 BC), father of botany, established botanical science through his lecture notes, Enquiry into Plants.
    • Leonardo da Vinci
      Leonardo da Vinci
      Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

       (1452–1519), Italian polymath; a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.

    See also


    • Bibliography of biology
      Bibliography of biology
      This bibliography of biology is a list of notable works, organized by subdiscipline, on the subject of biology.Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a...

    • Botanical garden
      Botanical garden
      A botanical garden The terms botanic and botanical, and garden or gardens are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word botanic is generally reserved for the earlier, more traditional gardens. is a well-tended area displaying a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names...

       and List of botanical gardens
    • Dendrochronology
      Dendrochronology
      Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree-rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year...

    • Edible Flowers
      Edible flowers
      Edible flowers are flowers that can be consumed safely. Edible flowers may be preserved for future use using techniques such as drying, freezing or steeping in oil. They can be used in drinks, jellies, salads, soups, syrups and main dishes. Flower-flavoured oils and vinegars are made by steeping...

    • Flower
      Flower
      A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

      s and List of flowers
    • Genomics of domestication
      Genomics of domestication
      Genomics is the study of the structure, content, and evolution of genomes, or the entire genetic information of organisms. Domestication is the process by which humans alter the morphology and genes of targeted organisms in order to select for desirable traits.-Background:Since Domestication...

    • Herb
      Herb
      Except in botanical usage, an herb is "any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume" or "a part of such a plant as used in cooking"...

      s
    • Herbchronology
      Herbchronology
      Herbchronology is the analysis of annual growth rings in the secondary root xylem of perennial herbaceous plants. While leaves and stems of perennial herbs die down at the end of the growing season the root often persists for many years or even the entire life...

    • History of plant systematics
      History of plant systematics
      The history of plant systematics—the biological classification of plants—stretches from the work of ancient Greek to modern evolutionary biologists. As a field of science, plant systematics came into being only slowly, early plant lore usually being treated as part of the study of...

    • History of phycology
      History of phycology
      The History of phycology is the history of the scientific study of algae. Human interest in plants as food goes back into the origins of the species and knowledge of algae can be traced back more than two thousand years...

    • List of botanical journals
    • List of botanists
    • List of Russian botanists
    • List of botanists by author abbreviation
    • List of domesticated plants
    • List of systems of plant taxonomy
    • Plant community
    • Plant sexuality
      Plant sexuality
      Plant sexuality covers the wide variety of sexual reproduction systems found across the plant kingdom. This article describes morphological aspects of sexual reproduction of plants....

    • Seed
      Seed
      A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

      s
    • Soil science
      Soil science
      Soil science is the study of soil as a natural resource on the surface of the earth including soil formation, classification and mapping; physical, chemical, biological, and fertility properties of soils; and these properties in relation to the use and management of soils.Sometimes terms which...

    • Tree
      Tree
      A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

      s
    • Vegetation
      Vegetation
      Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

    • Weed Science
    • Zoology
      Zoology
      Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...



    Popular science

    • Attenborough, David
      David Attenborough
      Sir David Frederick Attenborough OM, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FZS, FSA is a British broadcaster and naturalist. His career as the face and voice of natural history programmes has endured for more than 50 years...

      , The Private Life of Plants
      The Private Life of Plants
      The Private Life of Plants is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough, first shown in the UK from 11 January 1995....

      , ISBN 0-563-37023-8
    • Bellamy, David
      David Bellamy
      David James Bellamy OBE is a British author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist. He has lived in County Durham since 1960.-Career:...

      , Bellamy on Botany, ISBN 0-563-10666-2 - An accessible and short introduction to various botanical subjects
    • Capon, B., Botany for Gardeners, ISBN 0-88192-655-8
    • Cohen, J., How many people can the earth support?, London: W. W. Norton, 1995, ISBN 0-393-31495-2
    • Halle, Francis, In Praise of Plants, ISBN 0-88192-550-0 - English translation of a poetic advocacy of plants
    • King, J., Reaching for the sun: How plants work, ISBN 0-521-58738-7 - A fluent introduction to how plants work
    • Pakenham, Thomas (2002), Remarkable Trees of the World, ISBN 0-297-84300-1
    • Pakenham, Thomas (1996), Meetings with Remarkable Trees, ISBN 0-297-83255-7
    • Pollan, M., The Botany of Desire: a plant's-eye view of the world, London: Bloomsbury, ISBN 0-7475-6300-4 - Account of the co-evolution
      Co-evolution
      In biology, coevolution is "the change of a biological object triggered by the change of a related object." Coevolution can occur at many biological levels: it can be as microscopic as correlated mutations between amino acids in a protein, or as macroscopic as covarying traits between different...

       of plants and humans
    • Thomas, B. A. (1981), The evolution of plants and flowers, New York: St Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-27271-5
    • Walker, D., Energy, Plants and Man, ISBN 1-870232-05-4 - A presentation of the basic concepts of photosynthesis

    Academic and scientific

    • Crawford, R. M. M. (1989). Studies in Plant Survival. Oxford: Blackwell ISBN 0-632-01475-X
    • Matthews, R. E. F. Fundamentals of plant virology Academic Press,1992.
    • Mauseth, J. D.: Botany : an introduction to plant biology. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, ISBN 0-7637-2134-4, A first year undergraduate level textbook
    • Morton, A. G. (1981). History of Botanical Science.Academic Press, London. ISBN 0-12-508380-7 (hardback) ISBN 0-12-508382-3 (paperback)
    • Raven, Peter H., Evert, Ray H. and Eichhorn, Susan E. (2005) Biology of Plants; 7th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman ISBN 1-57259-041-6 (A first year undergraduate level textbook; 1st ed. by Peter H. Raven; Helena Curtis. [New York]: Worth, 1970; 6th ed. 1999)
    • Ridge, I. (2002) Plants Oxford University Press
      Oxford University Press
      Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

       ISBN 0-19-925548-2
    • Strange, R. L. (2003) Introduction to plant pathology. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH ISBN 0-470-84973-8
    • Walter, H. (1985) Vegetation
      Vegetation
      Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. It is a general term, without specific reference to particular taxa, life forms, structure, spatial extent, or any other specific botanical or geographic characteristics. It is broader...

       of the earth
      ; 3rd rev. ed. Springer.
    • Willis, K. (2002) The Evolution of Plants. Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-850065-3 £22-99


    Environmental botany
    • Crawley, M. J. (1997). Plant ecology. Blackwell Scientific ISBN 0-632-03639-7
    • Ennos, Roland and Sheffield, Elizabeth Plant Life. Oxford: Blackwell Science ISBN 0-86542-737-2 Introduction to plant biodiversity
      Biodiversity
      Biodiversity is the degree of variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the health of ecosystems. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. In terrestrial habitats, tropical regions are typically rich whereas polar regions...

      ISBN 0-89672-614-2
    • Richards, P. W. (1996). The Tropical Rainforest. 2nd ed. Cambridge U. P. (Pbk) ISBN 0-521-42194-2 £32.50
    • Stace, C. A. (1997) A New Flora of the British Isles. 2nd ed. Cambridge U. P. ISBN 0-521-58935-5


    Plant physiology
    • Bowsher, C. G., Steer, M. W. & Tobin, A. K. (2008) Plant Biochemistry. New York & Abingdon: Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group ISBN 0-8153-4121-0
    • Buchanan, B. B., Gruissem, W. & Jones, R. L. (2000) Biochemistry & Molecular Biology of Plants. American Society of Plant Physiologists ISBN 0-943088-39-9
    • Fitter, A. & Hay, R. Environmental Physiology of Plants; 3rd edition. New York: Harcourt Publishers, Academic Press ISBN 0-12-257766-3
    • Lambers, Hans, Chapin, F. Stuart, III and Pons, Thijs L. (1998) Plant Physiological Ecology. New York: Springer-Verlag ISBN 0-387-98326-0
      • http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-78341-3 2nd completely revised edition. New York: Springer, 2008
    • Lawlor, D. W. (2000) Photosynthesis BIOS ISBN 1-85996-157-6
    • Salisbury, F. B. and Ross, C. W. (1992) Plant Physiology; 4th ed. Belmont, Calif: Wadsworth ISBN 0-534-15162-0
    • Taiz, Lincoln & Zeiger, Eduardo (1991) Plant Physiology. Redwood City, Calif.: Benjamin/Cummings
      • 3rd ed. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates, 2002 ISBN 0-87893-823-0
      • 4th ed. Sunderland, Mass: Sinauer Associates, 2006 ISBN 978-0-87893-856-8

    External links