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History of botany

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**Historical Evolution of Botany**:
Botany and zoology as core disciplines of biology.
– Early botany divisions into morphology, anatomy, and physiology.
– Emergence of sub-disciplines like phycology and mycology in modern botany.
– The role of botany in the Neolithic Revolution and plant domestication.
– Contributions of ancient scholars like Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and Pliny the Elder.
– Botanical knowledge in classical antiquity, Renaissance, and the Age of Enlightenment.

**Cultural Contributions to Botany**:
– Botanical knowledge in ancient China, India, and the Arab world during the Middle Ages.
– Botanical contributions in the Islamic Golden Age.
– The impact of the Silk Road on the exchange of plants.
– The Age of Herbals and transition to Floras in botanical literature.
– Influence of botanical illustration on scientific examination of plants.

**Botanical Scholars and Contributions**:
– Theophrastus as the Father of Botany and his significant botanical observations.
– Roman contributions to agricultural knowledge and the distinction of botany from farming and medicine.
– Botanical knowledge in ancient China, including herbal pharmaceutics and cultivation information.
– Botanical contributions in the Islamic Golden Age, emphasizing medicinal aspects of plants.
– Contributions of European scholars like Valerius Cordus and Thomas Johnson to the science of botany.

**Botanical Exploration and Classification**:
– Botanical exploration of new lands by European colonial powers.
– Classification and morphology of plants, including the Linnaean system of binomial nomenclature.
– Development of plant encyclopedias called Floras for meticulous plant descriptions.
– Systematic cataloguing of botanical riches brought back by explorers and plant hunters.
– Role of early botanical gardens and herbaria in the historical unfolding of botanical science.

**Botanical Gardens and Plant Documentation**:
– Evolution of botanical gardens from physic gardens to modern traditions.
– Transformation from herbals to Floras and the separation of botany from medicine.
Plant classification systems and the concept of groups or genera of plants.
– The educational role of botanical garden directors and the establishment of herbarium collections.
– Contributions of botanical garden curators and authors of herbals to the documentation of plant knowledge.

History of botany (Wikipedia)

The history of botany examines the human effort to understand life on Earth by tracing the historical development of the discipline of botany—that part of natural science dealing with organisms traditionally treated as plants.

Some traditional tools of botanical science

Rudimentary botanical science began with empirically based plant lore passed from generation to generation in the oral traditions of paleolithic hunter-gatherers. The first writings that show human curiosity about plants themselves, rather than the uses that could be made of them, appear in ancient Greece and ancient India. In Ancient Greece, the teachings of Aristotle's student Theophrastus at the Lyceum in ancient Athens in about 350 BC are considered the starting point for Western botany. In ancient India, the Vṛkṣāyurveda, attributed to Parashara, is also considered one of the earliest texts to describe various branches of botany.

In Europe, botanical science was soon overshadowed by a medieval preoccupation with the medicinal properties of plants that lasted more than 1000 years. During this time, the medicinal works of classical antiquity were reproduced in manuscripts and books called herbals. In China and the Arab world, the Greco-Roman work on medicinal plants was preserved and extended.

In Europe, the Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries heralded a scientific revival during which botany gradually emerged from natural history as an independent science, distinct from medicine and agriculture. Herbals were replaced by floras: books that described the native plants of local regions. The invention of the microscope stimulated the study of plant anatomy, and the first carefully designed experiments in plant physiology were performed. With the expansion of trade and exploration beyond Europe, the many new plants being discovered were subjected to an increasingly rigorous process of naming, description, and classification.

Progressively more sophisticated scientific technology has aided the development of contemporary botanical offshoots in the plant sciences, ranging from the applied fields of economic botany (notably agriculture, horticulture and forestry), to the detailed examination of the structure and function of plants and their interaction with the environment over many scales from the large-scale global significance of vegetation and plant communities (biogeography and ecology) through to the small scale of subjects like cell theory, molecular biology and plant biochemistry.

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