What are Plants?

The study of plants is called botany. Early botany was important for the identification of medicinal plants.  The need to identify, describe, name, and classify plants, i.e., to catalog them, is basic to botany, because without this, one would not be able to communicate with others about specific kinds of plants. This aspect of botany is called taxonomy or systematics. The need to study and accurately describe the structure of plants led to the development of fields of morphology and anatomy.

There are approximately 300,000 plant species known to science.

Distinguishing characteristics of plants:

    • Cell walls built of cellulose, giving strength to the structure
    • Produce their own food through photosynthesis

For information on Illinois plants, visit the Illinois Plants – Wild plants of the prairie state database