Botany or Plant Biology

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Sat Oct 24 20:29:50 EST 1998

At 12:49 PM -0400 10/23/98, mmphillips at wrote:
>It seems that many Botany departments have changed their name to Plant
>Biology, and the same goes for course names.  What is the rationale for
>this?  Is it that "botany" has an old-fashioned ring to it, indicating that
>a department might not be involved in cellular/molecular work?   We are
>making revisions for a new college catalog and are considering changing our
>'botany' course to 'plant biology.'  Have others done this and why?

Hi Martha!

I have not changed my title...I inherited it as
Biology of Vascular Plants...but I did want to
comment. I am proud to be a botanist and I have
no problem with calling my course Botany.  But
there is an outside and erroneous perception that
plants are non-living (believe it or not!) and, by
putting Biology into the title, people begin to
understand their incredible importance in the
food web, the nutrient cycles, and so on...the
whole of biology!  There are SO MANY misconceptions
about plants and I think this small title change
does help with this ONE.  They may not be warm or
in most cases fuzzy, but the ARE a part of biology
and they ARE ALIVE!

I do have some concern about other's perceptions
about "botany" and particularly from some subcellular
folks, but that would not be a reason for me to change
a course title or a department name.  And, yes, indeed
botany is a GREAT place for doing molecular work.  In
fact, homologous recombination is turing out to be a
great reason to study mosses!  Imagine mosses becoming
a model genetic system?!  It is happening now!  :-)


Ross Koning                 | koning at
Biology Department          |
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479

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