science of plant life

Botany is the study of plants. It is a science. It is a branch of biology.

Plant study – quadrats and line transects

It is also called plant biology, and sometimes phytology. Scientists who study botany are called botanists. They study how plants work.

Branches of botany change

Recent trends change

University departments of botany are often now merged into a wider group of specialities, including cell biology, genetics, ecology, cytology, palaeontology and other topics. This gives students and research workers access to a wider education and a wider range of research techniques.

Notable botanists in date order change

  • Theophrastus ~371 BC Eresos~287 BC (aged 83 or 84) Athens. Hellenistic philosopher, wrote books, systematized botanical descriptions.
  • Al-Dinawari (828–896), Kurdish botanist, historian, geographer, astronomer, mathematician, and founder of Arabic botany.
  • Ibn al-Baitar (d. 1248), Andalusian-Arab scientist, author of one of the largest botanical encyclopedias.
  • John Ray (1627–1705) was an English naturalist, the father of English natural history.
  • Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist who laid the foundations for the modern scheme of Binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.
  • Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) was a French naturalist, superintendent of the Jardin du Roi ('King's Garden'). Buffon published thirty-five volumes of his Histoire naturelle during his lifetime, and nine more volumes were published after his death.
  • Imre Festetics (1764–1847) discovered genetics (in part) and was completely forgotten until a recent rediscovery.
  • Charles Darwin (1809–1882) wrote eight important books on botany after he published the Origin of Species.
  • Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817–1911), English botanist and explorer. Second winner of Darwin Medal.
  • Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), Augustinian priest and scientist. Often called the father of genetics for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants.
  • Eduard Strasburger (1844–1912) was a Polish-German professor who was one of the most famous botanists of the 19th century.
  • Luther Burbank (1849–1926), American botanist, horticulturist, and a pioneer in agricultural science.
  • Nikolai Vavilov (1887–1943) was a Russian botanist and geneticist. He showed how and where crop plants evolved. He studied and improved wheat, corn, and other cereal crops.
  • G. Ledyard Stebbins (1906–2000) was an American botanist and geneticist. He was one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century.