Botany is the field of basic biological science that focuses on the study and inquiry into the growth, form, structure and function, development, diversity, reproduction, evolution, and uses of plants; and their interactions within the biosphere. The term botany derives from the Latin botanicus and the Greek botane, both meaning plant or herb. The field is known also as plant science, phytology, or plant biology. Additional foci include plant physiology and metabolism, diseases, phycology and mycology, chemical properties, taxonomy and systematics, molecular biology, and paleobotany.
Botany traces its beginnings to human activity designed to identify edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. It is one of the earliest sciences.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to health problems. This article, written by Dr. Luz Claudio*, appeared first in Environmental Health Perspectives—the...
AngiospermLast Updated on 2014-08-25 13:09:22
The Angiosperms, or flowering plants, described taxonomically as the division Magnoliophyta, are the largest grouping within the plant kingdom (Kingdom ''Plantae'' or "Viridiplantae") in terms of the numbers of described species. Approximately 260,000 species of flowering plant have been named so far -- constituting nearly 90% of all known species of plants. Even so, taxonomists describe many new species annually, and estimates of total angiosperm diversity reach as high as 400,000 species. There are about 450 families of flowering plants, and they display extremely diverse life-histories and ecological adaptations. In addition to dominating plant biodiversity, angiosperms are the dominant photosynthesis/photosynthetic organisms (primary producers) in most terrestrial ecosystems (an important exception to this rule are the boreal forests,... More »
Apiaceae or Umbelliferae: The carrot and parsley familyLast Updated on 2014-08-22 14:29:26The Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family is comprised of over 280 genera and nearly 3,000 species, distributed over the sub-tropical, sub-temperate and temperate regions. Plants of the family are predominantly herbaceous and typcially are used commercially as aromatic medicinal plants and spices around the globe.
Leaves are alternating and either pinnately or palmately compound and exstipulate. Flowers are small, predominantly bisexual (hermaphrodite) and regular, with some variations observed across different genera. Calyx is characterized by 5 sepals, corolla consists of 5 inflexed petals (often absent in some genera). The androecium consists of 5 stamens and the gynoecium is comprised of a compound pistil produced due to fusion of the two carpels and characterized by the presence of a pair of styles staged on a broad platform (stylopodium). The ovary is of... More »
Amaranthaceae: The pigweed familyLast Updated on 2014-08-22 14:28:24Amaranthaceae is a plant family in the order Caryophyllales that is native to tropical America and Africa, ranging between tropics and sub-tropics to more temperate regions. The family is believed to have originated in either the southwestern region of the United States, Latin America, or Africa. The Amaranthaceae family is dominated by herbs but also includes vines, shrubs and trees, and is comprised of approximately 800 species represented by 60 plus genera and broadly divided into two sub families (Amaranthoideae and Gomphrenoideae).
Leaves are mostly simple and entire, non-stipulate, phyllotaxy is alternate/opposite. Flowers are regular, cyclic, tiny, and characterized by spiny perianth with conspicuous bracts and bractlets and are either unisexual/bisexual (hermaphrodite), solitary/aggregated into inflorescence (spikes/cymes/heads) (Fig 1). Calyx... More »
Cucurbitaceae: The amazing world of cucurbits Last Updated on 2014-08-22 14:26:25The Cucurbitaceae family represents over 90 genera and approximately 960 species. The distribution is predominantly tropical and subtropical, with only a few species occurring in the temperate regions.
Plants are monoecious/dioecious and have tendrils (usually one per node), are either annual or perennial, and are typically herbaceous/woody/vines/climbers/trailers/lianas, or sometimes trees. Shoots are angular, herbaceous/woody/succulent with stem anatomy showing conspicuous bicollateral vascular bundles that are easy to identify even without staining. Leaves are alternate, spiral, petiolate, membranaceous/succulent, without stipules. They can be simple or compound (ternate/palmate), have margins with small glandular teeth (hydathodes), are hairy (glandular/eglandular), and have cystolith (crystals) present. Flowers are solitary or aggregated into inflorescences... More »
Cactaceae: The cactus familyLast Updated on 2014-08-22 14:21:37The Cactaceae is a family belonging to the order Caryophyllales. Cacti typically are found in dry and arid desert or semi-desert regions with high average daytime temperatures and cold nights, and high evaporation rates. Cacti range from Canada to Argentina, predominantly occurring in the warm and arid reaches of the continents of both North and South America across a wide range of different habitats like deserts, sandy coastal stretches, scrublands, dry deciduous forests, high alpine steppes and tropical rain forests (Barthlott and Hunt, 1993; Gibson and Nobel, 1986; Nyffeler, 2001). The main diversity centers are Mexico and south-west USA, central Andes, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina with Mexico being the richest and most endemic region (Boyle and Anderson, 2002; Ortega-Baes and Godínez-Alvarez, 2006). The family is... More »
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