Botany also called plant science or plant biology, is derived from the Ancient Greek word "botane" which means grass or pasture. When you think of the word “plant,” what comes to mind? Maybe you imagine trees, vines, moss, or flowers. Perhaps you also considered fruits, vegetables, grains, and other foods. Although the plant kingdom includes a wide variety of species, all plants share many features in common. Typically, plants live on land, have green leaves, and use an underground root system to stay in place. Cones, needles, leaves, seeds, and flowers are other anatomical characteristics common to plants. Additionally, most plants use a series of chemical reactions collectively called photosynthesis to produce all of their own food.
Some species of plants have unique characteristics that fall outside of these normal parameters, including those that live underwater or lack the ability to photosynthesise. These unique species are still classified as plants and are thought to have evolved from earlier land-dwelling species with the ability to photosynthesise.
Distinguishing plants from other organisms can be tricky. It is easy to see that plants are distinct from animals or humans as they can be classified as being members of the Animal Kingdom or Plant Kingdom, but what about fungi and algae? Fungi, which are a diverse group of single celled or multinucleate organisms that decompose organic material with which they are in contact, were traditionally classified as plants because they are immobile and have some plant-like characteristics. Now, however, biologists no longer consider them to be plants because of significant biological and reproductive differences, they are classified in their own Fungal Kingdom. Algae, which are plant-like organisms that are found in aquatic or moist environments, participate in photosynthesis like plants, but they have much simpler reproductive mechanisms and no true roots, stems or leaves, causing biologists to disagree about their classification.