Meaning of Botany


The term botany had a long etymological journey before reaching our language. The Greek word botánē, which can be translated as “grass”, derived in botanikós. Then, in medieval Latin, it became botanicus.

Botany is called the scientific discipline dedicated to the study of plants. Also known as phytology, botany is part of biology and is focused on the description, classification and analysis of all the characteristics of plants.

Botany draws on knowledge of physiology, cytology, phytography, histology, ecology and other specialties, always linked to plants. This allows you to cover all aspects of vegetables.

It is possible to differentiate between pure botany (which seeks to increase existing knowledge about nature) and applied botany (which seeks to produce useful information for the development of technology). Having data of interest on plants allows, in turn, to broaden the scope of many sciences: that is why botany is a subject of interest to engineers, pharmacists and other professionals.

It should be noted that plants allow the obtaining of food, the production of medicines, the development of textile fibers and the generation of energy, for example. Botany, in this way, is an essential discipline for the progress of humanity.

The concept of botany (or its masculine, botanical version) allows, in turn, to construct various expressions: botanical garden (a surface that is used for the cultivation of plants), botanical geography (branch of geography focused on the distribution of plants on the planet), etc.

Botanical gardens must be authorized by a private, associative or public body, although sometimes they are managed by two or more. Its purpose is to study, conserve and disseminate plant diversity. One of its main features is the exhibition of scientific collections of living specimens, which are cultivated to achieve any of the aforementioned goals, in addition to collaborating with academic training.

The history of botanical gardens dates back to the Renaissance, a period during which there was a marked interest in the encyclopedia. The inspiration for this type of installation was undoubtedly the design of the medieval gardens. At first, botanical gardens were exclusively dedicated to the cultivation of medicinal and food plants, and little by little the classification and nomenclature became more specific.

According to the evidence found so far, it was in Al-Andalus that the construction of the first botanical gardens took place during the 13th century by the Muslims. In France, the first was only seen in the year 1593; it is The Montpellier Plant Garden, which the university still manages to this day.

There are also several botanical gardens in Italy, which were founded in the north of the country in the middle of the 16th century in Padua, Pisa and Bologna, connected with their respective universities. Other European countries in which we can find these spaces dedicated to the cultivation of plants are Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain.

Currently there are several universities that are in charge of maintaining their own botanical gardens, where they carry out important research work. For example, some build a botanical garden to dedicate to the study of the molecular complex and genetic research; Thanks to an investment of this kind, they collaborate with the preservation of scientific and historical knowledge.

In addition to collecting and conserving local and exotic plants, scientists who work in a botanical garden carry out the difficult task of protecting those species that are in danger of extinction.