What is Botany: Definition and 14 Discussions

Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη (botanē) meaning "pasture", "herbs" "grass", or "fodder"; βοτάνη is in turn derived from βόσκειν (boskein), "to feed" or "to graze". Traditionally, botany has also included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists respectively, with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists (in the strict sense) study approximately 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants (including approximately 369,000 species of flowering plants), and approximately 20,000 are bryophytes.Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism with the efforts of early humans to identify – and later cultivate – edible, medicinal and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science. Medieval physic gardens, often attached to monasteries, contained plants of medical importance. They were forerunners of the first botanical gardens attached to universities, founded from the 1540s onwards. One of the earliest was the Padua botanical garden. These gardens facilitated the academic study of plants. Efforts to catalogue and describe their collections were the beginnings of plant taxonomy, and led in 1753 to the binomial system of nomenclature of Carl Linnaeus that remains in use to this day for the naming of all biological species.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, new techniques were developed for the study of plants, including methods of optical microscopy and live cell imaging, electron microscopy, analysis of chromosome number, plant chemistry and the structure and function of enzymes and other proteins. In the last two decades of the 20th century, botanists exploited the techniques of molecular genetic analysis, including genomics and proteomics and DNA sequences to classify plants more accurately.
Modern botany is a broad, multidisciplinary subject with contributions and insights from most other areas of science and technology. Research topics include the study of plant structure, growth and differentiation, reproduction, biochemistry and primary metabolism, chemical products, development, diseases, evolutionary relationships, systematics, and plant taxonomy. Dominant themes in 21st century plant science are molecular genetics and epigenetics, which study the mechanisms and control of gene expression during differentiation of plant cells and tissues. Botanical research has diverse applications in providing staple foods, materials such as timber, oil, rubber, fibre and drugs, in modern horticulture, agriculture and forestry, plant propagation, breeding and genetic modification, in the synthesis of chemicals and raw materials for construction and energy production, in environmental management, and the maintenance of biodiversity.

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  1. S

    Distinguish Leaves vs Leaflets: Objective Criteria

    If I'm informed that a structure on a plant is a leaf with a certain number of leaflets, I can usually visualize the plant that way. But if I'm not informed about that fact, I only see leaves. How can I distinguish leaves vs leaflets?
  2. V

    Do leaves really always have an axillary bud at the base?

    Would love some insight: We're always taught that you can tell a leaf by the axillary bud where the petiole connects to the stem. But what if the axillary bud has developed into a stem/branch? Would it be correct to say that leaves often lack axillary buds at their junction with the stem (maybe...
  3. M

    How can I create a budget-friendly and weather-resistant garden in Texas?

    I am creating a blueprint for my future garden and I have been researching ways to naturally insulate plants for protection from cold and hot weather plus other necessities to create a flowing garden on a budget. If you have some ideas bring 'em on. I am open to a plethora of possibilities.
  4. TechieDork

    B I've heard that particle physics is just like taxonomy and botany

    I've heard it from my classmates that particle physics is just like botany or when physics meets taxonomy. There is even a quote from Enrico Fermi about this "If I could remember all names of these particles I'd be a botanist" I just want to know how true is that.
  5. JGHunter

    What makes a planet habitable?

    I am more of a budding (sorry) botanist / plant scientist, but I have an interest in astrophysics, how planets came to be the way they are and how this can help us understand what makes a habitable planet. I'm also starting something of a novel regarding a failing terraformed utopia. I won't...
  6. K

    CAM photosynthesis saturation / trying to parse a paper

    Hi - I'm working to accumulate data on photosynthetic flux saturation levels across a range of plant species, and am having a bit of trouble understanding this paper: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.3732/ajb.94.8.1344 Table 5 shows PPFD vs. ETR, and shows photosynthesis saturating...
  7. Magna Curiositate

    Biology Can I Become a Botanist While Working Full Time?

    Hi there, I was hoping I could get some advice to get on a path to become a Botanist, specifically one the deals in the Genetics Engineering of new Plants (not Pharming but something along the lines of creating new breeds of plant for consumption). I feel this is what I want to do with my life...
  8. Magna Curiositate

    Can Curiosity in Botany Lead to Breakthroughs in Arctic Plant Grafting?

    I enjoy learning anything and everything that lights my curiosity. I tend to learn faster and retain information much better than most people. Though when it comes to things that don't interest me, my mind struggles to give it any thought. I know loads of random facts, from the skeletal...
  9. P

    Programs 26 yo pharma journalist looking for hard science masters.

    Hi everyone, My details: Age: 26 Education: Bachelor's in Mass Media; Post-graduate Diploma in Journalism Work ex: 5 years for an international news agency covering pharmaceuticals and healthcare. I loved science in high school and was great at it, but couldn't continue due to some unavoidable...
  10. Likith D

    How did Mendel derive the phenotypic ratio of the pea plant?

    hi i had doubt in hereditary and evolution chapter class 10 CBSE India So now I know that the phenotypic ratio of the pea ( with reference to dwarfness and tallness) is 3 : 1 which can be interpreted as : for every 4 pea plants obtained by a peapod, there are 3 tall plants and 1 dwarf plant...
  11. M

    What Are the 35 Native Plants You Need for Your Botany Project?

    Hi, I live in Missouri I'm currently in a Botany class that has a project that requires us(me and my lab partner) to find 35 Missouri native plants, tree's, shrubs, etc. Any helpful advice on how to go about this would be appreciated. Department of conservation said go to parks and pick...
  12. A

    Botany: what is the evolutionary significance of losing a cotyledon?

    Hey there, I was reading up on angiosperms, and one of the possible evolutionary relationships that showed up were ancestors that originally had 2 cotyledons, and the lost of one later on rose to the arisal of monocots. I suppose this might be a really tough question, but what would be the...
  13. D

    Solving Botany Questions: Adding Sugar to Raspberries & Potato/Beet Tissue

    Hey guys, I've been spending a 3 hrs trying to figure this one out... 1) Why does adding sugar to rasberries make them juicy? to rephrase I mean why would the entire raspberry/sugar concoction become more juicer as a whole (why will there end up being juice in the bowl?) It has to do...
  14. M

    Exploring Botany Career Opportunities in Michigan

    "Jobs in Botany" Project I'm currently auditing a class at the public high school on Botany. The current assignment is to find two government-funded, and two non-government-related, jobs in Botany in Michigan. How exactly would I go about finding these? I've tried some search engines, but...