Course Summary

Botany: the Study of Plants for Enjoyment

Unit 1: What Is A Plant, How Do They Develop?

This unit introduces you to the world of plants and why they are crucial to people. It outlines how plants have evolved to how we can distinguish them from other organisms. Since the basic unit is the cell, its’ structure is described as is how it divides to form new cells. This then leads into genetic diversity and DNA, the main genetic material involved.

Unit 2: Structure And Function Of Plants

In this unit you are introduced to the various organs or parts of a plant and how they are structured and function. Some of the topics covered are plant morphology: vegetative and reproductive, seeds and germination. Then the structure and function of the primary stems and roots are discussed.

Unit 3: Secondary Growth In Stems - Leaves And Their Function

As life gets more complicated stems grown and become thickened and so we get ‘wood’ and ‘bark’. The role of ‘wood’ and ‘bark and how they are structured and differ from one species to another is discussed. Leaves are the ‘engineering marvels’ of the plant. In this unit their structure and function is investigated.

Unit 4: Plants And People

Here we look at plants people like and dislike for a variety of reasons as well as those that are useful to people and have changed our course of history. Thus such topics as weeds, poisonous plants, medicinal and edible plants are discussed.

Unit 5: Taxonomy: Classification, Nomenclature 

How do plants get their names, the history of plant classification as well as some of the collectors and scientists who were important to Australian botanical history. The role of herbaria and Botanic gardens is explored.

Unit 6: Nomenclature, Names And Rules 

Nomenclature or the naming of plants is governed by a strict set of units. This unit tries to demystify the process. Some detailed examples are given to illustrate the application of these rules and hopefully you will be able understand how and why a plant name may change.

Unit 7: Plant Adaptations And Other Trivia 

Plant diversity has occurred in response to mutations or changes in the genetic material (DNA) as well as from responses to the environment. Over time this has resulted in the many diverse forms of plant life that are found today and in the past. Examples of these adaptations are given.

Unit 8: Ecology And Conservation 

Ecology concerns the balance of the environment with the organisms inhabiting the area. Living and dead organisms are all interacting with each other, and with the physical attributes of the area, the soil, the temperature, light etc. i.e. the abiotic environment. Many aspects of this concept are explored as well as aspects of conservation and what makes a plant rare.