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.


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Brassicaceae: An agri-horticulturally important family Last Updated on 2014-07-22 17:19:27 Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) is an important dicotyledonous, angiospermic (true flowering) plant family with a global distribution. Species belonging to the Brassicaceae are well suited to a wide range of intensive and low input agri-techniques. They are primarily adapted to temperate and sub-tropical climates depending on the species. Brassica species play an important role in global agriculture and horticulture. The genus Brassica was described by Linneus in 1750 based on B. oleracea.  Brassica contains a number of important species and wide genetic diversity. The species are characterized by a wide range of adaptations that have been domesticated into crops including oilseed rape/canola and swede (Brassica napus L.); cabbage, cauliflower; broccoli, brussels sprout (B. oleracea L.); turnip, Chinese cabbage and pak choi (B. rapa L.) and mustards (B. nigra (L.) W.D.J. Koch, B. alba... More »
Blackman, F.F. Last Updated on 2014-06-30 16:39:52 F.F. Blackman, a British plant physiologist who discovered that photosynthesis is a two-step process (1905), only one of which uses light directly. He cultivated plants under different but controlled carbon dioxide concentrations, different light intensities and different temperatures and noted the effects of these variables on the rate of photosynthesis. Under low light intensity, photosynthesis is enhanced by increasing light, but is unaffected by increases in temperature and carbon dioxide. When light intensity is high, increases in both temperature and carbon dioxide accelerate photosynthesis. Black concluded that the initial "light" reactions are independent of temperature, while the second "dark" reactions are independent of light yet are limited by carbon dioxide and controlled by enzymes. More »
Von Sachs, Julius Last Updated on 2014-06-30 16:33:14 Julius von Sachs (1832-1897) was a German botanist and the founder of experimental plant physiology. He discovered that, in the presence of light, chlorophyll catalyzes photosynthetic reactions (1865). He also discovered the chlorophyll-containing chloroplasts and that starch is produced in chloroplasts as a result of the photosynthetic activities. Among his works is the famous Textbook of Botany (1868, tr. 1882), which first combined the knowledge gained in various branches of modern botany. Further Readings Sachs, Julius Von (The Ohio State University) More »
Tansley, Arthur G. Last Updated on 2014-06-30 16:22:45 Sir Arthur G. Tansley (1871-1955), a British botanist who first used the term “ecosystem” in a scientific publiction (1935). Apparently the term had been coined already in 1930 by Tansley's colleague Roy Clapham, who was asked if he could think of a suitable term to denote the physical and biological components of an environment considered in relation to each other as a unit. Tansley was a pioneer in the science of plant ecology; he coordinated a large project to map the vegetation of the British Isles, and in 1939 published The British Isles and Their Vegetation. Tansley was an instrumental figure in the formation of organizations devoted to the study of ecology and the protection of wildlife. More »
Calvin, Melvin Last Updated on 2014-06-30 16:18:37   Melvin Calvin (1911-1997), American biochemist who first described the photosynthetic process, now known as the Calvin Cycle. Calvin determined the process by tracking radioactive carbon dioxide through its transformation into carbohydrates. He allowed carbon-14 to be absorbed by plants, then mashed up the cells and separated the contents using paper chromatography. He discovered intermediate reaction products of photosynthesis and worked out the reaction scheme. He also discovered that photosynthesis proceeds in the absence of light. Calvin later confirmed which primary elements had formed the atmosphere from which primitive life developed. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961.   Further Reading Melvin Calvin - Biography (The Nobel Foundation) Calvin Photosynthesis Group Subject of History Project (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) More »