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Medicinal plants - Definition

Botany is the scientific study of plant life. As a branch of biology, it is also sometimes referred to as plant science(s) or plant biology. Botany covers a wide range of scientific disciplines that study the growth, reproduction, metabolism, development, diseases, and evolution of plants.
Nearly all the food we eat comes (directly and indirectly) from plants like this American long grain rice. This one of the many reasons that botany is an important topic of study and research. Contents
1 Scope and motivation of botany

1. 1 Feed the world
1. 1 Feed the world
1. 2 Understand fundamental life processes
1. 3 Utilise medicine and materials
1. 4 Understand environmental changes

2 History

2. 1 Modern botany (since 1945)
2. 2 Early botany (before 1945)

3 See also

4 Bibliography

5 External links

Medicinal Plants Definition

Medicinal Plants Definition

Medicinal Plants Definition

Medicinal Plants Definition

Scope and motivation of botany
As with other life forms in biology, plant life can be studied at a variety of levels, from the molecular, genetic and biochemical level through to organelles, cells, tissues, organs and the biodiversity of whole plants. At the top end of this scale, plants can be studied in populations, communities and ecosystems (as in ecology). At each of these levels a botanist might be concerned with the classification (taxonomy), structure (anatomy), or function (physiology) of plant life.
Historically, botanists studied all organisms that were not generally regarded as animal. Some of these plant-like organisms include: fungi (studied in mycology); bacteria and viruses (studied in microbiology); and algae (studied in phycology). Most algae, fungi, and microbes are no longer considered to be in the plant kingdom. However, attention is still given to them by botanists; and bacteria, fungi, and algae are usually covered, somewhat superficially, in introductory botany courses.
So why study plants? Plants are an utterly fundamental part of life on earth. They generate the oxygen, food, fibres, fuel and medicine that allow higher life forms to exist. While doing all this, plants also absorb carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas, through photosynthesis. A good understanding of plants is crucial to the future of our society 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 future generations, for example through plant breeding. Not all plants are beneficial to humans, weeds are a considerable problem in agriculture and botany provides some of the basic science in order to understand how to minimise their impact.
Gregor Mendel laid the foundations of genetics from his studies of plants. 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. The genetic laws of inheritance were discovered in this way by Gregor Mendel who was studying the way pea shape is inherited. What Mendel learnt from studying plants has had far reaching benefits outside of botany.
More recently, Barbara McClintock discovered jumping genes by studying maize. Although she was not a classical botanist - her work demonstrates the ongoing relevance of studying plants to understand fundamental biological processes.
Utilise medicine and materials
Many of our medicinal and recreational drugs come from the plant kingdom. Aspirin, which originally came from the bark of willow trees, is just one example. There may be many novel cures for diseases provided by plants, waiting to be discovered. Popular stimulants like coffee, chocolate, tobacco and tea also come from plants. Most alcoholic beverages, come from fermenting plants such as hops and grapes.
Plants also provide us with many natural materials: cotton, wood, paper, linen, vegetable oils, some types of rope and rubber are just a few examples that we often take for granted. The production of silk would not be possible without the cultivation of the mulberry plant. Sugarcane and other plants have recently been put to use as sources of biofuels which are important alternatives to fossil fuels.
These are just a handful of examples showing how plant life provides humanity with important medicine and materials.
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 plants provided systematics and taxonomy.
Plant responses to ultraviolet radiation can help us monitor problems like the holes in the ozone layer.
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 is an important part of phenology used in climate change research.
Lichens, which are sensitive to atmospheric conditions, have been extenisvely used as pollution indicators
So 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 everyday. Botanists also argue that botany is fascinating and rewarding topic of study in its own right.
Modern botany (since 1945)
A considerable amount of new knowledge today is being generated from studying model plants like Arabidopsis thaliana. This mustard weed was one of the first plants to have its genome sequenced. Other more commercially important plants like rice, wheat, maize and soybean are also having their genomes sequenced, although some of these are more challenging because they have more than two haploid (n) sets of chromosomes, a condition known as polyploidy. The Green Yeast Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (a single-celled, green alga) is another plant model organism that has been extensively studied and provided important insights into cell biology.
Early botany (before 1945)
The traditional tools of a botanist. Among the earliest of botanical works, written around 300 BC, are two large treatises by Theophrastus: On the History of Plants (Historia Plantarum) and On the Causes of Plants. Together these books constitute the most important contribution to botanical science during antiquity and on into the Middle Ages. The Roman medical writer, Dioscorides, provides important evidence on Greek and Roman knowledge of officinal 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 officinal uses of plants.
See also
Agriculture, horticulture, forestry and soil science
Ethnobotany, paleobotany and dendrochronology
Plants, trees, fruit, and vegetables
Herbs and spices
Plant sexuality
Seeds, germination and stratification.
List of vegetables, list of flowers, list of domesticated plants
List of botanists and list of botanical gardens
Botany Bay
List of plant science research institutions
Important publications in botany
Peter H. Raven, Ray F. Evert, Susan E. Eichhorn: Biology of Plants, Freeman. ISBN 1572590416 - A first year undergraduate level textbook
James D. Mauseth: Botany : an introduction to plant biology. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, ISBN 0763721344 - A first year undergraduate level textbook
David Bellamy Bellamy on Botany, ISBN 0563106662 an accessible and short introduction to various botanical subjects
Roland Ennos and Elizabeth Sheffield Plant life, Blackwell Science, ISBN 0865427372 Introduction to plant biodiversity
Michael Pollan The Botany of Desire: A Plant s-eye View of the World Bloomsbury ISBN 0747563004 Account of the co-evolution of plants and humans
Curtis s Botanical Magazine (http: fax. libs. uga. edu QK1xC981 ), 1790-1856
The Trees Of Great Britain and Ireland (http: fax. libs. uga. edu QK488xE4 ), by Henry John Elwes & Augustine Henry, 1906-1913
External links
Wikibooks has a textbook about:
BotanyPlant tissues (http: users. rcn. com jkimball. ma. ultranet BiologyPages P PlantTissues. html), plant growth (http: users. rcn. com jkimball. ma. ultranet BiologyPages P PlantGrowth. html) and The Plant Cell (http: users. rcn. com jkimball. ma. ultranet BiologyPages P PlantCell. html) from Kimball s Biology Pages (http: users. rcn. com jkimball. ma. ultranet BiologyPages )
Botanical Society of America: What is Botany? (http: botany. org newsite botany )
Science and Plants for Schools (http: www-saps. plantsci. cam. ac. uk index. htm)
A Study Guide to the Science of Botany (http: textbook. wikipedia. org wiki Botany) ~ at Wikibooks
American society of plant biologists APSB (http: aspb. org aboutus )
Why study Plants? Dept of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge (http: plantsci. cam. ac. uk plantsci about why. html)
The Virtual Library of Botany (http: ou. edu cas botany-micro www-vl )
List of major natural Plant Species in the UK, described in the National Vegetation Classification (http: wikisource. org wiki NVC-National_Vegetation_Classification%2C_UK_representative_plant_species)

General subfields within biology
Anatomy | Astrobiology | Biochemistry | Bioinformatics | Botany | Cell biology | Ecology | Evolutionary biology | Genetics | Marine biology | Human biology | | Microbiology | Molecular biology | Origin of life | Paleontology | Physiology | Taxonomy | Zoology

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Medicinal Plants Definition

Medicinal Plants Definition

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