Botany is a broad branch of biology that involves studying the characteristics and functions of plants. It is also known as plant science or plant biology. The earth is covered with very many different species of plants, some of which have not yet been documented. Studying the plants around us helps in getting a better understanding of the planet that we live in. Studies on plants date back to the early days as man strived to understand his surroundings. The present-day understanding of plants is based on these early studies.
Scientists who study plants and their functions are known as botanists. They carry out in-depth studies on plants both in the field and the laboratory. Botanists work together with other professionals, such as microbiologists, farmers, wildlife biologists, conservationists, and environmental scientists.
To become a botanist, one needs a Bachelor of Science degree in botany, general biology or any other related field. This first degree gives the individual general knowledge of botany and its applications. With this degree, one can get an entry-level position in many areas related to botany and biology in general.
To get more knowledge of botanical science and specialize in one area of study, one can proceed to take graduate studies. These studies give the individual more freedom to carry out their own botanical research. They also enable one to get higher positions in the workplace.
Branches of botany
This is the study of the external characteristics of plants. The parts of the plant that are visible with the naked eye, such as the stem, leaves, and roots, are analyzed in detail. It is necessary to know each of these parts and how they function.
This is the study of the internal characteristics of plants. It mostly involves studying cell characteristics and functions. Microscopy is the main technique used in plant anatomy.
Plants grow in different environments depending on their characteristics and adaptations. They are therefore distributed in well-defined patterns on the earth’s surface. When studying the ecology of plants, botanists analyze their distributions and interactions with other organisms in their ecosystems.
This involves studying the diseases that affect plants. It is important to understand plant diseases, especially in agriculture, because they can lead to great losses. Plant pathologists analyze the effects, signs and causes of a particular disease. They then proceed to develop ways that can be used in treating or preventing it.
There are very many species of plants on earth, with close to 400,000 being documented. These plants are very diverse and each variety exhibits different characteristics and functions. Botanists study these differences to get a deep understanding of each plant.
This is the study of the chemical processes that take place in plants. Plants carry out many biological processes to enable them function. These processes involve chemical reactions enabled by enzymes. Botanists need to understand these processes when learning about plants.
Genetics is a broad branch of biology that involves studying the genome characteristics of all living organisms. Plant genetics, on the other hand, is a specialization in which one studies only the genetic characteristics of plants. This is useful in understanding the functions and diversity of plants.
This is the study of garden plants or the plants that are grown in farms for economic or food purposes. Their characteristics, functions, and diseases are examined in detail. Most of the information on horticultural plants is known today because of botanical science.
This is the study of the plants that are found in the marine environment. There are very many species of aquatic plants and some are yet to be documented. Individuals who have knowledge of marine biology can specialize in the study of plants.
The importance of botany
It is important to learn about the plants that surround us and know how they impact the environment. By studying plants, man has also been able to benefit through:
- Food: plants are the primary producers, thus they provide most of the food consumed by man.
- Medicine: plants produce chemical compounds for use in their survival. These compounds from plants, such as lemon balm, Aloe Vera, and holy basil, have been used to make both traditional and modern medicine.
- Clothes: plants such as cotton, hemp, and flax provide fibers that have been used for many years to make clothes.
- Animal feed: plants are the primary producers and are therefore the basis for most types of animal feed.
- Ornamentals: plants serve as decorations for both indoor and outdoor environments due to their appealing characteristics.
- Tourism: plants are part of the wildlife and they attract tourists who visit places such as national parks, museums, and herbariums.
Botany is a very wide field and, therefore, its knowledge is applicable in many fields, such as environmental science, wildlife biology, conservation, and agriculture. To become a botanical scientist, it is important to be well-versed in general biology so as to apply it in botanical work. Sometimes this field of study can be difficult to handle in college. As a student, you should not shy away from seeking assistance from a biology tutor. Seeking such help will enable you to improve on your grades.