The Work of the Botanist

Botanists deal with the entire range of plants—from inconspicuous water-dwelling plants to giant sequoia trees. They study the structure, function, occurrence, and economic importance of plants, how they grow and reproduce, and how the various forms of plants are related to each other. A botanist, however, usually specializes in one of several separate but related fields into which botany is divided; for example, plant morphology, the study of plant structure; or plant ecology, the study of plants in relation to their surroundings. These and other fields are explained in Biology, subtitle The Work of the Biologist.

Many botanists teach or do research at colleges and universities. Others are employed by arboretums and botanic gardens, by such businesses as seed or drug companies, and by such government agencies as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the National Park Service. A knowledge of botany is important in such applied sciences as agriculture, biochemistry, forestry, horticulture, pharmacy, plant breeding, and soil conservation.