botany intro

2 Pages
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Department
Plant Biology
Course Code
PBIO 004
Professor
Nicholas J.Gotelli

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Description
Introduction Asa Gray, writer of the book The Elements of Botany, states, �Botany is the name of the science of the vegetable kingdom in general; that is, of plants.� (Gray 1)Botany is also known as one of the oldest types of biology that there is to study. Plants, algae, and fungi are the three major areas that are focused on when studying botany. Botany deals with any living organism that is not considered an animal, and there are over 550,000 species of living organisms that out for people to explore the science of botany, like I enjoy doing. However, there are several living organisms that are still studied by botanists, but are not considered to be part of the plant kingdom. Botany can be any scientific plant one would like to explore and as I stated there are many different types to play around with and figure which type of plant you would enjoy being around. Many plants can be similar in their functions, but also there can be many other different functions that would interest the person studying the organism. The main differences you will find in plants are how they obtain their food, the way they reproduce, and their stem system. You can find many other differences in organisms, but these are the first to look for when first noticing the different make ups of plants. How Botany Began Botany began as experiments set up by people in an effort to identify which organisms could be consumed for food, which could be used for medicinal purposes, and which plants were poisonous. Diane Schmidt, author of the book Guide to Reference and Information Sources in Plant Biology, wrote that, �Classification of plant life has been important ever since ancient philosophers began organizing observations and facts into knowledge framework.� (Schmidt 1)I do not believe that one knows the real importance of a botanist and their work or for that matter the importance of plants. The botanical renaissance occurred in late 1400�s. This is when many medicinal uses for plants were found. John Gilmour, writer of British Botanists, wrote, �The characteristic product of the botanical renaissance was the herbal and it was in Germany, the birthplace of printing in Europe, that the first renaissance herbals appeared in the early part of the sixteenth century.� (Gilmour 8) Almost everything a person consumes either comes from some sort of plant or relied on plants for its food. Plants are considered the food base for all living things and provide our bodies with many different things a person does not even realize. Commonly Used Plants Many recreational drugs that are used come directly from plants that most of the people to had no idea the everyday material they use was made from a plant. The most common drugs that come from plants are caffeine, nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol(THC). Other parts of plants also can be added, because they are believed to make the drug react with your body more effectively, making the medicine do its job. There are massive amounts of combinations of plants that could possibly be put together to make new medicines and help cure diseases that are life threatening. That is why I have such an interest in botany, it has the chance to save and change people�s lives. Products such as tea, chocolate, and tobacco are also every day stimulants that people enjoy to have. Even alcoholic beverages like beer and wine are made from grapes and oats. Many of these commonly used organisms are subject to exposure to bacteria. Joseph Bergen, author of the book Practical Botany, explains, �Growth of bacteria within other plants and in animals often results in the disease of the host organism.�(Bergen 171) This is why a person must check the food they are about to eat. Getting Interested In Botany There are many different things that could lead a person to having an interest in botany and those interests could make a person turn their hobby into a career. Many jobs one does while having botany as a hobby they find themselves doing for their job, now they just get paid for it. It could be as simple as watching how plants grow and recording it or it could be as demanding as finding a cure for a deadly disease. Christine Mlot, writer of the book Botany for the Next Millennium, says that �most botanists attribute their original interest in plants to another botanist or teacher able to convey the beauty and intellectual excitement of plant studies.� (Mlot 26) The three main jobs for botanists are teaching it, field research, and lab work. Each way of working with botany has its upsides. Teaching it can be fun because it does not even have to be in a classroom s
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