Fall 2005

We asked you to tell us what interests you have in botany, and here is what you said you wanted to learn more about. (Don't see what you specifically mentioned?  It's probably there, under one of the more general headings...)

Edible Plants/Nutrition/Food/Herbs/Peanuts......9
  Flowers in General/ Giving/Receiving Flowers....6
Medicinal Plants/Herbs/Health Care/Ethnobotany..5
  Wildlife Habitats/Foods.........................2
Oxygen Production...............................2
  Rangeland Ecology/Grasses/Livestock/Agriculture.2
  Native Plants/Wildflowers.......................1
  Plant Pathology.................................1

We can recommend books and techniques that can help you learn more about these things within the BOTN 301 context. What you get out of this course depends on how much you are willing to put in. We'll be glad to help you however we can.
Most books mentioned on this page are ones we have. We can also recommend others the library might have. Just ask your TA or Monique.  If you find a link in this document that is not working, please let us know!


While the focus of this course is wild plants, learning about plant families will help you, because wild and cultivated members of a family are similar in structure and often in preference for growing conditions. Monique has a degree in Floriculture, and Millie and Matt are both horticulturists, so you can ask them lots of questions...


A few gentlemen said they use flowers to get out of the doghouse with their girlfriends.  Quite a few of the ladies said they liked to receive flowers.  Gents, are you listening?

In Lecture and Lab--We really won't talk too much about cut flowers and floral arrangements in this course, but we will go over major plant families that common florist's flowers come from--Caryophyllaceae, Rosaceae, etc.  If you keep your eyes open, you will learn about your favorites.

In the Field--Look for plants that have cut-flower potential.  Wouldn't some of the native grasses be nice?  In the fall, look for the ornamental berries of holly, snail-seed, and beauty-berry.

Plant Collection--You could collect only things you think would make good arrangements.  One for the press, one to key from, one for the vase!

Websites Related to Cut Flowers (no endorsements implied)
  Calyx and Corolla
  How to Make Cut Flowers Last
  How to Preserve Leaves and Flowers with Glycerine


Dr. Wilson has included some information on medicinal plants in his lectures, and there is some in your text. In addition:


We will definitely talk about ecology in this class



Boy, are you in luck! This is the main thing we deal with--What is that plant? How can I tell it from all the others? Where else does it grow? The whole lab and lecture are geared toward giving an understanding of the major families and their distinguishing features. Just by staying awake in class, you should learn plenty. We will also talk about the origins and distributions of plants--which ones are cosmopolitan, which strictly New World, which Old World, etc.

Books--We have manuals and floras that cover the whole state and many parts of the U.S. These will help you identify plants.  We also have picture books which will give you an idea of what's out there in a non-scientific way. If it's classical taxonomy and learning how to identify plants you want, we have good books on those, too. Just tell Monique what you want, and she can steer you in the right direction.

In the Field--Practice sight-identification of major families and genera. Quiz yourself and your friends. Try to botanize in as many different places as possible. Make notes, take pictures, draw. Bring back unknowns to identify.

This really is a topic more for a Plant Physiology class than a systematics class. The main thing to remember is that while green plants do produce oxygen via photosynthesis, they also use oxygen during respiration--there's just a net gain on the production side of things.
        Here's an interesting article on the subject.

In Lecture and Lab-Pay special attention to important grazing and crop plant families like grasses and legumes. On the field trip, we will see and talk about what happens to overgrazed pastures and how ungrazed pastures go back to prairie and forest.

Web sites related to Livestock and Range Plants

TAMU Range Science homepage
Agricultural and  Livestock Information from Oklahoma State
The USDA's web-page, portal to lots of agricultural information
Images of Texas Grasses
Agrostology at Texas A&M
Issues in Food Production--index to many articles on economics, water use, organic crops, etc.
Sustainable Farming and Ranching
Grass Fed Beef
Plant-Herbivore Interactions


You are going to learn so much general stuff and soooo much plant trivia this semester that you will be amazed. Have a look at Mabberley's The Plant Book--there is something fun on every page. Also try talking to Monique. She is a veritable fountain of bizarre and esoteric information... If we say something this semester that intrigues you, let us know. We'll be glad to steer you in a direction to find out what you need to know. Have a look at the other topics discussed here.  You might also look into taking Botany 328--Plants and People, a course devoted to food, medicine, drug, dye, fiber, and fuel plants.  You can find strange and wondrous things at Wayne's Word, too.


This is our most favorite thing!  The study of what's out there is called floristics.  The teaching staff all have interests in the local flora.

We really won't do much with plant pathology this semester-- there are other courses that deal strictly with pathology.  However, learning the plant families will help you with a study of plant pathology, since susceptibility to pathogens often runs in families.  In doing your plant collection, you will have an opportunity to observe and collect plants with various pathological conditions--but please be sure your specimens are not *too* damaged.  And be careful of things such as oak galls, which can mimic true fruit.

    Web sites related to Plant Pathology
Plant Pathology Internet Guidebook
                Americal Phytopathological Society
                Plant Pathology Departments at U.S. Universities

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Last updated by Monique Dubrule Reed on September 5, 2005