Plant Anatomy and Economic Botany

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The field of applied science, dealing with the practical or economic aspects of a subject, lends itself much better to such treatment than does the field of pure science. This is particularly true of botany. From earliest time plants have been intimately bound up with human existence. Not only have they played an important part in the everyday life of mankind, but they have had a profound influence on the course of history and civilization. A knowledge of the industrial, medicinal, and edible plants cannot fail to broaden one's outlook. Economic botany is the study of the relationship between people (individuals and cultures) and plants. Economic botany contributes significantly to many fields, including established disciplines such as agronomy, anthropology, archaeology, chemistry, economics, ethnobotany, ethnology, forestry, genetic resources, geography, geology, horticulture, medicine, microbiology, nutrition, pharmacognosy, and pharmacology. This link between botany and anthropology explores the ways humans use plants for food, shelter, medicines, textiles, and more. The average man is likely to consider himself as a being apart from the rest of the organic world, enabled by reason of hi:-; superior intellect to lead a self-sufficient and independent existence. He loses sight of the fact, or is ignorant of it, that he is absolutely dependent on other organisms for his very life, and his material happiness as well. His superior intelligence has made him more dependent rather than less so. Although various animal and mineral products contribute to his welfare, it is the plant kingdom that is most essential to man's well-being. Man's dependence on plants for the essentials of his existence has been of paramount importance in his life since the human race began. Human race cannot imagine to sustain in this world without plants. Plants have role in each and every aspect of human life. Besides photosynthesis and being a basic source of oxygen on the planet Earth, we need plants for food and feed, clothing, housing, medicinal and many more functions of basic human and animal sustenance. To the extent, that not very long ago the plants and grains were the basis for trade and economy of the world. In simple words, Economic botany is the interaction of human race with plants for sustainable solutions for some of their most pressing functions. It is very closely related to the ethnobotany, which in Greek means ethos, "race or cultural group" and botanikos, "herbs". The knowledge of ethnobotany has slowly evolved from the use of plants by the seemingly exotic cultures of the world, to systematic and quantitative analysis of plant use and benefits to our society.

Plant Anatomy and Economic Botany gives insight into the interactions of humans with various plants, which is based on the anatomy of the plants, for their economic and social uses. Primitive man probably had few needs other than food and a little shelter. Civilization, however, has brought with it an ever-increasing complexity, and has increased man's requirements to an amazing degree. The man of .today is no longer content merely to exist, with food and shelter as his only wants. He desires other commodities as well, and raw materials that can be converted into the many useful articles and products which contribute to his enjoyment of life, and which incidentally increase his debt to plants. Aside from their value as sources of food, drugs, and many of the raw materials of industrialism, plants are important to man in many other ways. The role of colorless plants in the economy of nature; the part that bacteria play in disease and many industries; and the effects of forests and other types of natural vegetation in controlling floods and erosion are but a few examples. The aesthetic value of plants has no small influence on man's enjoyment of life, as evidenced by the host of garden enthusiasts and flower lovers. The production and distribution of plant products have a profound influence on the economic and social life of the nations of the world, affecting both domestic conditions and international relations, and even changing the course of history.

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Delve Publishing
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