While plants have intrigued and delighted people for thousands of years, they still remain undervalued and too little appreciated. We somehow manage to see a faint connection between plants and our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and energy, but only in a rather limited way. Remote connections are made, if any at all, between the history of exploration; present-day social, economic, and political conditions; and access to plants and plant products. Interest and understanding of plants is becoming much more intense. During the last few decades we have seen an unprecedented increase in the variety of plants and plant products available in our markets as the popularity of ethnic cuisines has grown. Also, worldwide, people are becoming increasingly aware of sound nutrition and the role plants play in our general health. We now appreciate plants as reservoirs of untold numbers of pharmaceuticals important in our war on diseases. These interests are stimulating our collective concerns about understanding the past, present, and future uses of plants.
Recently we have begun to address our most serious problems, viz the loss of ecosystem integrity and habitats for animals dependent upon vegetation. This we have done through increased understanding of plants. We now know how valuable plants are in maintaining the health and stability of the global environment and that in its survival is the survival of the human species.
Botany is the study of all aspects of plants, including systematics, morphology, diversity, metabolism, and ecology. Through a study of plants, students gain an understanding and an appreciation of life at the cellular, organismal, population, and community levels of organization. The study of Botany can lead to a variety of professional careers, including soil science, forestry, range management, biotechnology, plant breeding, horticulture, marine biology, environmental science, natural medicine, and teaching.
Dr. Sue Harley
Weber State University
1415 Edvalson St., Dept. 2504
Tracy Hall, Rm 417