History of botany
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. Rudimentary botanical science began with empirically-based plant lore passed from generation to generation in the oral traditions of paleolithic hunter-gatherers; the first written records of plants were made in the Neolithic Revolution about 10,000 years ago as writing was developed in the settled agricultural communities where plants and animals were first domesticated. The first writings that show human curiosity about plants themselves, rather than the uses that could be made of them, appears in the teachings of Aristotle's student Theophrastus at the Lyceum in ancient Athens in about 350 BC. In Europe, this early 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 extended. In Europe the Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries heralded a scientific revival during which botany emerged from natural history as an independent science, distinct from medicine and agriculture. Herbals were replaced by floras: books; the invention of the microscope stimulated the study of plant anatomy, the first 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 rigorous process of naming 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, 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 through to the small scale of subjects like cell theory, molecular biology and plant biochemistry.
Botany and zoology are the core disciplines of biology whose history is associated with the natural sciences chemistry and geology. A distinction can be made between botanical science in a pure sense, as the study of plants themselves, botany as applied science, which studies the human use of plants. Early natural history divided pure botany into three main streams morphology-classification and physiology – that is, external form, internal structure, functional operation; the most obvious topics in applied botany are horticulture and agriculture although there are many others like weed science, plant pathology, pharmacognosy, economic botany and ethnobotany which lie outside modern courses in botany. Since the origin of botanical science there has been a progressive increase in the scope of the subject as technology has opened up new techniques and areas of study. Modern molecular systematics, for example, entails the principles and techniques of taxonomy, molecular biology, computer science and more.
Within botany there are a number of sub-disciplines that focus on particular plant groups, each with their own range of related studies. Included here are: phycology, pteridology and palaeobotany and their histories are treated elsewhere. To this list can be added mycology, the study of fungi, which were once treated as plants, but are now ranked as a unique kingdom. Nomadic hunter-gatherer societies passed on, by oral tradition, what they knew about the different kinds of plants that they used for food, poisons, for ceremonies and rituals etc; the uses of plants by these pre-literate societies influenced the way the plants were named and classified—their uses were embedded in folk-taxonomies, the way they were grouped according to use in everyday communication. The nomadic life-style was drastically changed when settled communities were established in about twelve centres around the world during the Neolithic Revolution which extended from about 10,000 to 2500 years ago depending on the region.
With these communities came the development of the technology and skills needed for the domestication of plants and animals and the emergence of the written word provided evidence for the passing of systematic knowledge and culture from one generation to the next. During the Neolithic Revolution plant knowledge increased most through the use of plants for food and medicine. All of today's staple foods were domesticated in prehistoric times as a gradual process of selection of higher-yielding varieties took place unknowingly, over hundreds to thousands of years. Legumes were cultivated on all continents but cereals made up most of the regular diet: rice in East Asia and barley in the Middle east, maize in Central and South America. By Greco-Roman times popular food plants of today, including grapes, apples and olives, were being listed as named varieties in early manuscripts. Botanical authority William Stearn has observed that "cultivated plants are mankind's most vital and precious heritage from remote antiquity".
It is from the Neolithic, in about 3000 BC, that we glimpse the first known illustrations of plants and read descript
In botany, a whorl or verticil is an arrangement of sepals, leaves, stipules or branches that radiate from a single point and surround or wrap around the stem. A whorl consists of at least three elements; the morphology of most Angiosperm flowers is based on four whorls. The Calyx: a whorl of sepals at the base; the Corolla: a whorl of petals above the calyx. The Androecium: a whorl of stamens, each comprising a filament and an anther; the Gynoecium: a whorl of the female parts of a flower: the stigma and ovary. A flower lacking any of these floral structures is said to be imperfect. Not all flowers consist of whorls since the parts may instead be spirally arranged, as in Magnoliaceae. For leaves to grow in whorls is unusual except in plant species with short internodes, it does however occur in some trees such as Brabejum stellatifolium and other Proteaceae, such as some Banksia species. In examples such as those illustrated, crowded internodes within the whorls alternate with long internodes between the whorls.
The Fabaceae or Leguminosae known as the legume, pea, or bean family, are a large and economically important family of flowering plants. It includes trees and perennial or annual herbaceous plants, which are recognized by their fruit and their compound, stipulate leaves. Many legumes have characteristic fruits; the family is distributed, is the third-largest land plant family in terms of number of species, behind only the Orchidaceae and Asteraceae, with about 751 genera and about 19,000 known species. The five largest of the genera are Astragalus, Indigofera and Mimosa, which constitute about a quarter of all legume species; the ca. 19,000 known legume species amount to about 7% of flowering plant species. Fabaceae is the most common family found in tropical rainforests and in dry forests in the Americas and Africa. Recent molecular and morphological evidence supports the fact that the Fabaceae is a single monophyletic family; this conclusion has been supported not only by the degree of interrelation shown by different groups within the family compared with that found among the Leguminosae and their closest relations, but by all the recent phylogenetic studies based on DNA sequences.
These studies confirm that the Fabaceae are a monophyletic group, related to the Polygalaceae and Quillajaceae families and that they belong to the order Fabales. Along with the cereals, some fruits and tropical roots, a number of Leguminosae have been a staple human food for millennia and their use is related to human evolution; the Fabaceae family includes a number of important agricultural and food plants, including Glycine max, Pisum sativum, Cicer arietinum, Medicago sativa, Arachis hypogaea, Ceratonia siliqua, Glycyrrhiza glabra. A number of species are weedy pests in different parts of the world, including: Cytisus scoparius, Robinia pseudoacacia, Ulex europaeus, Pueraria lobata, a number of Lupinus species; the name'Fabaceae' comes from the defunct genus Faba, now included in Vicia. The term "faba" comes from Latin, appears to mean "bean". Leguminosae is an older name still considered valid, refers to the fruit of these plants, which are called legumes. Fabaceae range in habit from giant trees to small annual herbs, with the majority being herbaceous perennials.
Plants have indeterminate inflorescences. The flowers have a short hypanthium and a single carpel with a short gynophore, after fertilization produce fruits that are legumes; the Leguminosae have a wide variety of growth forms, including trees, herbaceous plants, vines or lianas. The herbaceous plants can be annuals, biennials, or perennials, without basal or terminal leaf aggregations. Many Legumes have tendrils, they are epiphytes, or vines. The latter support themselves by means of shoots that twist around a support or through cauline or foliar tendrils. Plants can be mesophytes, or xerophytes; the leaves are alternate and compound. Most they are even- or odd-pinnately compound trifoliate and palmately compound, in the Mimosoideae and the Caesalpinioideae bipinnate, they always have stipules, which can be rather inconspicuous. Leaf margins are entire or serrate. Both the leaves and the leaflets have wrinkled pulvini to permit nastic movements. In some species, leaflets have evolved into tendrils.
Many species have leaves with structures that attract ants that protect the plant from herbivore insects. Extrafloral nectaries are common among the Mimosoideae and the Caesalpinioideae, are found in some Faboideae. In some Acacia, the modified hollow stipules are known as domatia. Many Fabaceae host bacteria in their roots within structures called root nodules; these bacteria, known as rhizobia, have the ability to take nitrogen gas out of the air and convert it to a form of nitrogen, usable to the host plant. This process is called nitrogen fixation; the legume, acting as a host, rhizobia, acting as a provider of usable nitrate, form a symbiotic relationship. The flowers have five fused sepals and five free petals, they are hermaphrodite, have a short hypanthium cup shaped. There are ten stamens and one elongated superior ovary, with a curved style, they are arranged in indeterminate inflorescences. Fabaceae are entomophilous plants, the flowers are showy to attract pollinators. In the Caesalpinioideae, the flowers are zygomorphic, as in Cercis, or nearly symmetrical with five equal petals in Bauhinia.
The upper petal is the innermost one, unlike in the Faboideae. Some species, like some in the genus Senna, have asymmetric flowers, with one of the lower petals larger than the opposing one, the style bent to one side; the calyx, corolla, or stamens can be showy in this group. In the Mimosoideae, the flowers are actinomorphic and arranged in globose inflorescences; the petals are small and the stamens, which can be more than just 10, have long, coloured filaments, which are the showiest part of the flower. All of the flowers in an inflorescence open at once. In the Faboideae, the flowers are zygom
The water caltrop is any of three extant species of the genus Trapa: Trapa natans, Trapa bicornis and the endangered Trapa rossica. It is known as buffalo nut, bat nut, devil pod, ling nut, lin kok, ling kio nut, mustache nut or singhada; the species are floating annual aquatic plants, growing in slow-moving water up to 5 m deep, native to warm temperate parts of Eurasia and Africa. They bear ornately shaped fruits, which in the case of T. bicornis resemble the head of a bull or the silhouette of a flying bat. Each fruit contains a single large, starchy seed. T. natans and T. bicornis have been cultivated in China and the Indian subcontinent for the edible seeds for at least 3,000 years. The generic name Trapa is derived from the Latin word for "thistle", calcitrappa, as is another common name for the water caltrop; the Chinese name is língjiǎo, líng meaning "caltrop" and jiǎo meaning "horn". This is rendered as ling nut by English-speakers. In India and Pakistan, the plant has different regional names, such as siṅghāḍā, śṛṅgāṭaka, pānī-phal śiṅgoḍā, pani singada, xiŋori, hiṅgrai.
This fruit's Bengali name is shingara/paniphol. In Kashmiri it is called gore; the plant's name in Japanese is hishi, a word meaning "diamond- or lozenge-shaped". The water caltrop's submerged stem reaches 12 to 15 ft in length, anchored into the mud by fine roots, it has two types of leaves, finely divided, feather-like submerged leaves borne along the length of the stem, undivided floating leaves borne in a rosette at the water's surface. The floating leaves have saw-tooth edges and are ovoid or triangular in shape, 2–3 cm long, on inflated petioles 5–9 cm long, which provide added buoyancy for the leafy portion. Four-petalled white flowers are insect-pollinated; the fruit is a nut with four barbed spines. Seeds can remain viable up to 12 years, although most germinate within the first two years; the plant spreads by the rosettes and fruits detaching from the stem and floating to another area on currents or by fruits clinging to objects, animals. This plant should not be confused with the unrelated Eleocharis dulcis called a water chestnut.
Eleocharis is an aquatic plant raised for food since ancient times in China. E. dulcis is a sedge. The genus has an extensive fossil record, with distinctive species. Undisputed fossilized seeds have been found in Cenozoic strata starting from the Eocene throughout Europe and North America; the oldest known fossils attributed to the genus, are of leaves from Cretaceous Alaska, referred to the species, T. borealis. Investigations of archaeological material from southern Germany indicate that the prehistoric population of that region may well have relied upon wild water caltrops to supplement their normal diet and, in times of cultivated cereal crop failure, water caltrops may have been the main dietary component. Today, water caltrop is so rare in Germany. Water caltrop has been an important food for worship as prayer offerings since the Chinese Zhou Dynasty; the Rites of Zhou mentioned that a worshipper "should use a bamboo basket containing dried water caltrops, the seeds of Euryale ferox and caltrops".
The Chinese Herbal Medicine Summary indicates that water caltrop can help drunkenness. In India and Pakistan, it is known as singhara or paniphal and is cultivated in freshwater lakes; the fruits are eaten boiled. When the fruit has been dried, it is ground to a flour called singhare ka atta, used in many religious rituals, can be consumed as a phalahar on the Hindu fasting days, the navratas, it was possible to buy water caltrops in markets all over Europe until 1880. In northern Italy, the nuts were offered roasted. In many parts of Europe, water caltrops were known and used for human food until the beginning of the 20th century. Today, however, it is a rare plant. Several reasons for its near extinction exist, such as climate fluctuations, changes in the nutrient content of water bodies, the drainage of many wetlands and oxbow lakes. T. Natans was introduced to Massachusetts around 1874 as a planting in the Harvard University Botanic Garden. Staff gardener Louis Guerineau took it upon himself to throw seeds into Fresh Pond and other Cambridge waterways.
This came to the attention of Medford-based botanist George E. Davenport, who decided to bring seeds and live plants to his friend Minor Pratt, in Concord. Pratt and he seeded a pond near the Sudbury River, he suspected Pratt conducted additional distributions; as early as 1879, concern was voiced by botanist Charles Sprague Sargent, director of Boston's Arnold Arboretum, that this non-native species threatened to become a nuisance, based on dense growths reported in Cambridge. Davenport confessed in an entry in the Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club, Vol. 6, page 352: "I have several times had plants of Trapa natans that were collected in the vicinity of Boston, during the present year, brought to me for identification, I have entertained no doubt as to the manner of its introduction into waters outside Cambridge Botanic Garden. But that so fine a plant as this, with its handsome leafy rosettes and edible nuts, which would, if common, be as attractive to boys as hickory nuts
Lilioid monocots is an informal name used for a grade of five monocot orders in which the majority of species have flowers with large, coloured tepals. This characteristic is similar to that found in lilies. Petaloid monocots refers to the flowers having tepals; the taxonomic terms Lilianae or Liliiflorae have been applied to this assemblage at various times. From the early nineteenth century many of the species in this group of plants were put into a broadly defined family, Liliaceae sensu lato or s.l.. These classification systems are still found in other sources. Within the monocots the Liliaceae s.l. were distinguished from the Glumaceae. The development of molecular phylogenetics, cladistic theory and phylogenetic methods in the 1990s resulted in a dismemberment of the Liliaceae and its subsequent redistribution across three lilioid orders. Subsequent work has shown that two other more recognized orders and Pandanales segregate with this group, resulting in the modern concept of five constituent orders within the lilioid monocot assemblage.
This has resulted in treating monocots as three informal groups, alismatid and commelinid monocots. The lilioids are paraphyletic in the sense; the descriptive term "petaloid lilioid monocot" relates to the conspicuous petal-like tepals which superficially resemble true lilies. Morphologically, the petaloid or lilioid monocots can be considered to possess five groups of three-fold whorls. Lilioid monocots all have flowers which can be considered to have been derived from a lily-like flower with six similar tepals, six stamens; the typical lilioid gynoecium has three carpels fused into a superior trilocular superior ovary, axile placentation, a single hollow style, several ovules with anatropous orientation in one or two rows per locule and nectaries at the base. However, floral synapomorphy is rare; this pattern is ancestral for the lilioid monocots. Structural monosymmetry is rare. Various trends are apparent among the lilioids, notably a change to an inferior ovary and a reduction of the number of stamens to three.
In some groups, the tepals have become differentiated, so that the flower has three coloured petals and three smaller green sepals. All lilioid monocots retain at least three petal-like tepals. Since some commelinids have petaloid flowers, the term'lilioid' is a more accurate one for the group which excludes them, since the term petaloid monocot is still used in describing commelinids; the morphological concept of petaloid monocots has been equated with "animal-attracting" as opposed to wind-pollinating plants that have evolved different floral structures. Pollen structure shows that of the two main tapetum types and plasmodial, the lilioid monocots are nearly all secretory. In the orders that branched off before the lilioid monocots, the Acorales and Alismatales, flowers differ in several ways. In some cases, like Acorus, they have become insignificant. In others, like Butomus, they have six coloured tepals, so could be called'petaloid', but stamens and carpels are more numerous than in the lilioid monocots.
The evolved commelinids have various kinds of flower, few of which are'lily-like'. In the order Poales, comprising grasses and sedges, flowers are either petal-less or have small, unshowy petals. Many Zingiberales species have brightly showy flowers. However, their apparent structure is misleading. For example, the six tepals of cannas are small and hidden under expanded and brightly coloured stamens or staminodes which resemble petals and may be mistaken for them. In one of the earliest monocot taxonomies, that of John Lindley, the grouping corresponding to the lilioid monocots was the "tribe" Petaloideae. In Lindley's system the monocots consisted of two tribes, the Petaloideae, the Glumaceae. Lindley divided the Petaloideae into 32 the Glumaceae into two further orders. Various successive taxonomies of the monocots emphasized the grouping of species with petaloid perianths, such as Bentham and Hooker's Coronarieæ and Hutchinson's Corolliferae. Hence the concept that there was a natural grouping of monocots whose flowers were predominantly petaloid, gave notion to the term "petaloid monocots".
The core group of petaloids were the Liliaceae, hence "lilioid monocots". The term "lilioid monocot" or lilioid" has had varying interpretations. One of the narrower applications is "lily-like" monocots, meaning the two orders Asparagales and Liliales, but the term has been applied to Takhtajan's superorder Lilianae, the whole of Liliales, or restricted to Cronquist's broadly defined Liliaceae. Although "petaloid" and "lilioid" have been used interchangeably, as Heywood points out, some usages of "petaloid monocot" in horticulture, are so broad as to be meaningless in that it had been used to refer to all species with conspicuous petals or perianth segments, which would cover a broad swathe of families (he estimated three dozen across many o
In angiosperms, a hypanthium or floral cup is a structure where basal portions of the calyx, the corolla, the stamens form a cup-shaped tube. It is sometimes called a floral tube, a term, used for corolla tube and calyx tube, it contains the nectaries of the plant. It is present in most flowering species; this differentiation between the hypanthium in particular species is useful for identification. Some geometric forms are obconic shapes as in toyon, whereas some are saucer-shaped as in Mitella caulescens, its presence is diagnostic of many families, including the Rosaceae and Fabaceae. In some cases, it can be so deep, with such a narrow top, that the flower can appear to have an inferior ovary - the ovary is below the other attached floral parts; the hypanthium is known by different common names in differing species. In the eucalypts, it is referred to as the gum nut. In myrtles the hypanthium can either surround the ovary tightly, it can vary in length. The rims around the outside of the hypanthium contain the calyx lobes or free sepals and either the stamen or multiple stamen that are attached at one or two points.
The flowers of the family Rosaceae, or the rose family, always have some type of hypanthium or at least a floral cup from which the sepals and stamens all arise, and, lined with nectar-producing tissue known as nectaries. The nectar is a sugary substance that attracts birds and bees to the flower, who take the pollen from the lining of the hypanthium and transfer it to the next flower they visit a neighbouring plant; the stamens borne on the hypanthium are the pollen-producing reproductive organs of the flower. The hypanthium helps in many ways with the reproduction and cross pollination pathways of most plants, it provides weather protection and a medium to sustain the lost pollen, increasing the probability of fertility and cross-pollination. The retained pollen can attach to pollinators such as birds, moths, bats and other animals. Wind can act as an instigator for fertilisation; the hypanthium is an adaptive feature for structural support. It helps the stem fuse together with the flower, in turn strengthening the bond and overall stability and integrity.
Foster, Tony. "Botany Word of the Day". Phytography. Retrieved 27 November 2014. Hypanthium images on MorphBank, a biological image database