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Botany is the study of plant life, including sunflowers

What is Botany?

Botany, also called plant science or plant biology, is the science of plant life and is part of biologyA scientist who studies plants can be called a ‘botanist’ or a ‘plant scientist’“Botanical” is an adjective used to describe something related to botanyBotany began thousands of years ago as herbalism (the study and use of plants as medicine)

Why Study Plants?

Plants are used as food and give humans and other animals the energy they need to livePlants also make many medicines and products for peopleThe more people know about plants, the better we can keep them and use them

The food we eat comes directly or indirectly from plants such as rice.

Early Botany

Examples of early botanical texts have been found in texts from India from before 1100 BC, and from China before 221 BCThe ancient Greeks started botany in EuropeThe ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus (371–287 BC) is sometimes called the "Father of Botany"


Many important biological discoveries started with plants. Here are two:In 1665 Robert Hooke discovered the basic unit of living things, cells, in plantsIn the 1800s Gregor Mendel did experiments with pea plants that showed how the characteristics of living things are passed from parents to children (genetics)

Botanical Gardens

A botanical garden is an area with many different plants used for research and educationEuropean botanical gardens started as gardens for plants to be used as medicineToday, most botanical gardens are open to the public

Some plants in the University of California botanical garden

What do I know about plants?True or False

All plants do photosynthesis. FalseAll plants need water and nutrients. TrueAll plants make flowers. FalseAll plants make seeds. False

4 Main Groups of Plants

Nonvascular plants lack transport & seedsSeedless vascular plantshave transport, lack seedsGymnosperms (vascular) have seeds, but not in shellsAngiosperms (vascular) seeds in shells, flowers

“Vascular” means that the plant has a transport system. “Transport” means tubes that can carry water and nutrients.

Ginko trees have seeds but no flowers. What group does it belong to?

Botany Today

Modern botany is a big subject with many different areas of researchBotanical research is useful in providing foods, chemicals, energy, medicine, and materials for construction

Potato plant. Potatoes spread to the rest of the world after European contact with the Americas and have since become an important food source.