As a scientific discipline, botany organizes plants observed in nature into an organized body of knowledge or taxonomy, giving each its unique scientific name in Latin. The features of plants help to identify and name them. These are studied in order to understand the nature and possible uses of plants. The features of plants studied by botanists include plant physiology, cytology and histology, morphology, genetics, pathology, plant ecology, and economic botany. Physiology in botany is the study of the kinds of things that plants do to stay alive. It includes study of how plants make and use food, how the cells of a plant enable it to grow, how they reproduce, and how they are influenced by heat, light, and moisture.
Plant morphology is the study of the form and structure of plants. Morphology is organized around the taxonomy of plants. Cytology and histology are sub-disciples of plant morphology. Histology is the study of how different types of cells are arranged in different plants. Cytology focuses on the specific nature of plant cells. Plants range from single cell to very complex arrangements of cells into soft green leaves, sea weed, or into very hard tropical trees such as mahogany. Plant genetics focuses on the laws of genetic reproduction to describe how plants transmit their characteristics to their offspring. This discipline is very important to many people, from gardeners to farmers.
Plant pathology is caused by a multitude of pathogens. The most damaging are viruses, bacteria, fungi, and molds. However, exhaustion of the soil, or weather, especially that associated with climate change, can cause the death of plants. To prevent crop loss, plant pathology includes the study of ways to fight or prevent plant diseases. Plant ecologists study the relationship between plants and their spatial location. Also important to plant ecology are studies of how plants grow (or do not grow) together. Knowledge of plant ecology can be very helpful in aiding recovery of an area that humans are trying to restore to health.
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