Plant anatomy

Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. Originally it included plant morphology, the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, but since the mid-20th century plant anatomy has been considered a separate field referring only to internal plant structure. Plant anatomy is now frequently investigated at the cellular level, and often involves the sectioning of tissues and microscopy.

Although some plant anatomy studies utilize a systems approach, such as the study of vascular tissues, plant anatomy is more classically divided into the following structural categories:

About 300 BC Theophrastus wrote a number of plant treatises, only two of which survive, Enquiry into Plants (Περὶ φυτῶν ἱστορία), and On the Causes of Plants (Περὶ φυτῶν αἰτιῶν). He developed concepts of plant morphology and classification, which did not withstand the scientific scrutiny of the Renaissance.

A Swiss physician and botanist, Gaspard Bauhin, introduced binomial nomenclature into plant taxonomy. He published Pinax theatri botanici in 1596, which was the first to use this convention for naming of species. His criteria for classification included natural relationships, or 'affinities', which in many cases were structural.

It was in the late 1600s that plant anatomy became refined into a modern science. Italian doctor and microscopist, Marcello Malpighi, was one of the two founders of plant anatomy. In 1671 he published his Anatomia Plantarum, the first major advance in plant physiogamy since Aristotle. The other founder was the British doctor Nehemiah Grew. He published An Idea of a Philosophical History of Plants in 1672 and The Anatomy of Plants in 1682. Grew is credited with the recognition of plant cells, although he called them 'vesicles' and 'bladders'. He correctly identified and described the sexual organs of plants (flowers) and their parts.

In the eighteenth century, Carl Linnaeus established taxonomy based on structure, and his early work was with plant anatomy. While the exact structural level which is to be considered to be scientifically valid for comparison and differentiation has changed with the growth of knowledge, the basic principles were established by Linnaeus. He published his master work, Species Plantarum in 1753.

This page was last edited on 13 June 2018, at 17:02 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed