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Botany Assignment

The study of all aspects of plants, principally their structure, physiology,


relationships, and biogeography, but embracing many aspects of other disciplines.
Important areas in modern botanical research include genetics and plant breeding;
vegetative reproduction and tissue culture, especially the use of microtechniques in
which plants are propagated from small amounts of excised tissue such as
meristems rather than from seeds; ecology and conservation, especially of
endangered habitats such as tropical rain forests and wetlands; and, increasingly,
the use of plants as indicators of pollution.

OR

Botany, plant science(s), phytology, or


plant biology is a branch of biology and
is the scientific study of plant life and
development. Botany covers a wide range
of scientific disciplines that study plants,
algae, and fungi including: structure,
growth, reproduction, metabolism,
development, diseases, chemical
properties, and evolutionary relationships
between the different groups. Botany
began with early human efforts to identify
edible, medicinal and poisonous plants,
making botany one of the oldest sciences.
From this ancient interest in plants, the
scope of botany has increased to include
the study of over 550,000 species of living
organisms

Scope and importance of botany


As with other life forms in biology, plant life can be studied from different
perspectives, from the molecular, genetic and biochemical level through organelles,
cells, tissues, organs, individuals, plant populations, and communities of plants. At
each of these levels a botanist might be concerned with the classification
(taxonomy), structure (anatomy), or function (physiology) of plant life. Most algae,
fungi, and microbes are no longer considered to be in the plant kingdom.
The study of plants is important for a number of reasons. Plants are a fundamental
part of life on earth. A good understanding of plants is crucial to the future of
human societies as it allows us to:
Feed the world Understand fundamental life processes Utilise medicine and
materials Understand environmental changes
Feed the world
Virtually all of the food we eat comes from plants, either directly from staple foods
and other fruit and vegetables, or indirectly through livestock, which rely on plants
for fodder. In other words, plants are at the base of nearly all food chains, or what
ecologists call the first trophic level. Understanding how plants produce the food we
eat is therefore important to be able to feed the world and provide food security for

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Botany Assignment

future generations, for example through plant breeding. Not all plants are beneficial
to humans, some weeds are a considerable problem in agriculture and botany
provides some of the basic science in order to understand how to minimise their
impact. However, other weeds are pioneer plants which start an abused
environment back on the road to rehabilitation, underlining that the term 'weed' is a
very relative concept, and that broadly defined a weed is simply a plant which is too
successful. Ethnobotany is the study of this and/or other relationships between
plants and people.
Understand fundamental life processes
Plants are convenient organisms in which fundamental life processes (like cell
division and protein synthesis for example) can be studied, without the ethical
dilemmas of studying animals or humans. What Mendel learnt from studying plants
has had far reaching benefits outside of botany.
Utilise medicine and materials
Many of our medicinal and recreational drugs, like cannabis, caffeine, and nicotine
come directly from the plant kingdom. There may be many novel cures for diseases
provided by plants, waiting to be discovered.
Plants also provide us with many natural materials, such as cotton, wood, paper,
linen, vegetable oils, some types of rope, and rubber. Sugarcane and other plants
have recently been put to use as sources of biofuels, which are important
alternatives to fossil fuels.
Understand environmental changes
Plants can also help us understand changes in on our environment in many ways.
Understanding habitat destruction and species extinction is dependent on an
accurate and complete catalogue of plant systematics and taxonomy. Analysing
pollen 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 research. Recording and analysing the timing of plant life cycles are
important parts of phenology used in climate-change research.
In many different ways, plants can act a bit like the 'miners canary', 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, horticultural and culinary uses of plants
every day. The Roman medical writer Dioscorides provides important evidence on
Greek and Roman knowledge of medicinal plants.
In 1665, using an early microscope, Robert Hooke discovered cells in cork, a short
time later in living plant tissue. The German Leonhart Fuchs, the Swiss Conrad von
Gesner, and the British authors Nicholas Culpeper and John Gerard published
herbals that gave information on the medicinal uses of plants.
Plants are living entities, and material presented within Biology will have relevance here, most
particularly at the cellular and subcellular levels of organization (Chapter 2). Both plants and
animals deal with the same problems of maintaining life on planet Earth — their approaches
seem quite different, but the end result is the same: continued existence in an organized state, as
part of a universe whose tendency is towards greater disorganization. Back on Earth, however, it
is a fact that microbes, plants, and animals comprise a very interdependent system. We divide
them apart, because our minds work best that way. We categorize and learn common features or

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Botany Assignment

properties of the categories. This approach is neither right nor wrong, but is clearly efficient for
our minds. Nonetheless, it is desirable to regularly step back and realize that the boundaries
between categories are often just constructs, and exceptions to our categories usually abound.
It was alluded to in the opening definition that Botany is a science. Just what makes Botany, or
anything else a science? It is important to acquire a grasp of the fundamentals of science itself to
fully appreciate both how botanical knowledge was gained as well as how it can be used. It is
usually quickly disinteresting to acquire facts simply for the sake of knowing. Humans do not
just appreciate mountains because they are there, they climb them because they are there