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Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist or plant scientist is a scientist who specialises in this field.


  • BOTANY, n. The science of vegetables -- those that are not good to eat, as well as those that are. It deals largely with their flowers, which are commonly badly designed, inartistic in color, and ill- smelling.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • Alchemy does not mix or compound anything, it causes that which already exists in a latent state to become active and grow. Alchemy is, therefore, more comparable to botany or agriculture than to Chemistry; and, in fact, the growth of a plant, a tree, or an animal is an alchemical process going on in the alchemical laboratory of nature, and performed by the great Alchemist, the power of God acting in nature.
    • Franz Hartmann, in In the Pronaos of the Temple of Wisdom, containing the History of the True and the False Rosicrucians (1890), p. 129
  • My mother carefully fostered a liking for botany, giving me a small microscope and many books, which I yet have. Strange as it may seem, I now believe that botany and the natural system, by exercising discrimination of kinds, is the best of logical exercises. What I may do in logic is perhaps derived from that early attention to botany.
    • William Stanley Jevons, reflections on his earlier life, written when he was 27 (December 1862), published in Letters and Journal of W. Stanley Jevons (1886), edited by Harriet A. Jevons, his wife, p. 11.
  • The progress of botany, as of other sciences, comes from the interaction of so many factors that undue emphasis on any one can give a very distorted impression of the whole, but certainly among the most important of these for any given period are the prevailing ideas and intellectual attitudes, the assumptions and stimuli of the time, for often upon them depends the extent to which a particular study attracts an unbroken succession of men of industry and originality intent on building a system of knowledge and communicating it successfully to others of like mind.
    • William T. Stearn, Botanical Gardens and Botanical Literature in the Eighteenth Century, 1961.

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