top of page

Botany: More Than Just Pretty Flowers

Yes, flowers are pretty, but what is so special about them? Do they really serve any other purpose other than simply looking nice? When you think of biology, you may only think of cellular or microbiology, but plants are also included in this science.

Botany, in short, is simply the study of plants. This includes their structure, biochemical properties, and function in our biosphere. Though often overlooked, botany is the vital foundation of many applied sciences and has far-reaching impacts on our daily lives.

Plants are vital to the Earth's biosphere because of their unique process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is where plants take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the Earth's atmosphere and convert it into oxygen, which humans can then use for cellular respiration. There are two different reactions of photosynthesis: light-dependent and light-independent, also known as light and dark reactions. The light-dependent reactions begin with light photons striking a leaf, initiating the chlorophyll* to absorb energy from the light waves and then convert it into ATP and NADPH. The light-independent reactions consist of the Calvin Cycle, occurring in the stroma of the chloroplast. In this cycle, energy from ATP and NADPH is used to form carbohydrate molecules, such as glucose, from carbon dioxide. This process is vital to our survival as humans because plants give us the air and food we need to survive. This process is unique to plants, so the next time you are looking at a small daffodil, do not underestimate the power that it holds!

Beyond their essential role in photosynthesis, plants have numerous other applications. Other than the most obvious use of plants for food and clothing, plants are also used in medicine. When you get a cold, what are you usually told to drink? Tea! In our modern-day society, plants are used all around us. We began using plants for medicinal purposes roughly 3,000 years ago. Hippocrates, the "Father of Medicine," classified herbs for medicinal use in 460-380 BC. The most famous philosopher, Aristotle, also used classified medicinal herbs. Plants are known to be biologically active because they contain compounds like alkaloids and terpenoids. Scientists are able to synthesize active ingredients from plants and use those to innovate new medicine. Ibuprofen, for example, can be made from a chemical produced by pine trees.

Plants also play a crucial role in agriculture and the economy. They are the backbone of food production and provide materials for various industries. Plants also positively contribute to environmental health by not only absorbing CO2 but also preventing soil erosion and supporting diverse ecosystems.

Botany is much more than the study of pretty flowers. It is a field that covers the fundamental aspects of life on Earth! Whether it's through providing oxygen, food, or medicine, plants are essential to our survival and well-being. So the next time you see a pretty flower or take a sip of herbal tea, remember that plants are more than just plants.


Works Cited

Allkin, Bob. “Useful Plants – Medicines.” State of the World’s Plants 2017 - NCBI Bookshelf, 2017,

Steere, William Campbell, et al. “Botany | Definition, History, Branches, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 5 Apr. 2024, www.britannica.com/science/botany.

Writer, L. a. C. (2021, December 23). Botany Courses as Part of a Liberal Arts College Curriculum. Liberal Arts. https://liberalartsedu.org/disciplines/botany/

1 commentaire


Invité
27 mai

Plants are so cool 😍😍😍

J'aime
bottom of page