Do you wonder why you can always buy fruits and veggies in the grocery store? How houses are built? How some medicines are developed? Or how plants stay green and healthy?
Botany is a branch of biology that studies plants. Plants are living organisms found all over our globe. Botany focuses on trees, flowers, forests, leaves, pollens, fruits, wood, seeds, and fungi. It explores plant structures, growth, reproduction, development, diseases, evolution, and human interaction. It's a science that is always producing life-changing research.
Life cannot exist without plants. First there would be no oxygen because plants produce oxygen through photosynthesis. There would be no food because plants account for all of our fruits, vegetables, and grains - plus they feed the meats that we enjoy. Plants provide many of the products that create our quality of life - medicines, dyes, perfumes, beverages, lumber, paper, clothing, furniture, and even fuel.
Plants are vital to our lifestyle. We depend on them for survival. There are about 350,000 plant species and more are being discovered every year. These plants hold cures to diseases and solutions to environmental problems. We need to research and learn everything we can about plants because they are fundamental to our lives.
They come in all shapes and sizes from tiny bacteria to immense trees. Botanists study plants from the jungles of the Amazon, the plains of Texas, the forests of Sweden, and the beaches of Fiji. Wherever there are plants, there are botanists doing research.
The research saves billions of dollars every year. Crops that grows twice as high and produce greater yields, trees that filter air pollution, ecosystems that are saved, diseases that are stopped, medicines that are discovered, foods that provide nutrition, flowers that make us smile, and oxygen that keeps us alive are all reasons why there should be an official Hug A Botanist Day.
Botany is a big scientific field with many subdisciplines. Every aspect of botany is important and there are lots of exciting jobs and careers to jump into. A few of those niches are:
- Agronomy Jobs - Soil management and field crop production
- Ethnobotany - Human and plant interaction
- Paleobotany - Fossilized plants
- Plant Anatomy - Structure of plants
- Plant Ecology - Plant roles and environment interaction
- Plant Morphology - Plant lifecycles
- Plant Physiology - Functions of plants
- Plant Taxonomy and Systematics - Identification and classification of species
- Forestry - Forest Management and Trees
- Bryology - Study of Mosses
- Mycology - Study of Fungi (sometimes classified outside of botany)
- Phycology - Study of Algae
- Lichenology - Study of Lichen
Everyone can find a niche in botany to enjoy. Botanists can work as environmental managers, park rangers, environmental consultants, biotechnologists, marine botanists, plant anatomists, enthnobotanists, plant taxonomists, conservation biologists, ecotourism entrepreneurs, agronomists, mycologists, grassland scientists, entomologist, plant breeders, or soil scientists.
They must attend university to be involved in these exciting scientific careers Many people who study botany decide to explore horticulture, which is the application of botany, in careers like landscaping and gardening.
Botanists are experts on mosses, woody plants, lichens, fungi, spores, pollen, algae, ferns, wildflowers, shrubs, trees, flowers, and crops. They are the reason why we can eat toast and drink coffee for breakfast, take an aspirin when our muscles ache, live in houses, and wear cotton t-shirts. Their scientific breakthroughs are fundamental to our lives.
To truly understand botany, you need to love plants and the outdoors. You need to know how plants affect our world and how we rely on them. A career in botany may have you studying slides under a microscope at a research university, taking samples of wheat in Missouri, or studying moss in Olympic National Forest. It's fun, but challenging and rewarding work
Botany is a cutting edge science that has the potential to change the world. Does this sound like something you would enjoy?