Botany: Definition and Meaning of Botany, Branches of Botany (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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Definition and Meaning of Botany

  • The branch of biology that deals with the study of plants.
  • The term ‘botany’ is derived from the Greek word ‘botane.’
  • Botany initially included all the plant-like organisms such as algae, lichens, ferns, fungi, mosses.
  • It is also the study of the vital processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, and plant nutrition.
  • Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism.
The Most Common Type of Plant

Branches of Botany

Branches of Botany

Plant Pathology

  • A science studies plant disease.
  • It attempts to improve the chances for survival of plants.
  • It has advanced techniques to protect crops from losses due to diseases.

Plant Ecology

  • It is a sub discipline of ecology.
  • It studies the distribution and abundance of plants.
  • It supplies food to all terrestrial organisms, including humans.


  • It is the branch of botany dealing with the recovery and identification of plant remains.
  • It focuses on plant fossils, including algae, fungi, and related organisms, as well as mosses, ferns, and seed plants.


  • This tells us the way plants were used by the people in the past.
  • This is important from the medicinal and spiritual significances perspective of a plant.
  • Archaeobotany is also known as Paleoethnobotany.

Forensic Botany

  • It is the use of plants and plant parts.
  • Includes pollen, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruits, and wood.
  • It plays an important role while ascertaining the cause of death.
    • Investigation of criminal cases
    • Legal questions
    • Disputes
    • Non-criminal cases

Modern Botany

Early Modern Botany

  • The systems of plant identification were developed during the 18th century.
  • New plants for study were arriving in Europe by the 18th century.

Late Modern Botany

  • This includes modern techniques of organic chemical analysis.
    • Spectroscopy
    • Chromatography
    • Electrophoresis
  • August Weismann (1834 – 1914) proved that inheritance only takes place through gametes.

Importance of Botany

  • It helps in studying the characteristics and the uses of plants.
  • It plays a crucial role around economic productivity.
    • Involvement in the study of crops.
    • Helps farmers increase crop yield.
  • The study of Botany also influences he fields of science, medicine, and cosmetics.
  • It further helps in understanding the environmental challenges more clearly.
  • It helps in producing the medicine and materials for treatment of diseases.
  • It helps in understanding the fundamental life processes.

Evolution of Plants

Major Clades and Traditional Groups

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