When considering the study of science, there are numerous subcategories that focus on particular areas of research or specific species or groupings; one such division is botany, a branch of biology that focuses on plant life. It can also incorporate studies of algae and fungi. As one of the oldest branches of science, botany had a very practical purpose in early civilizations: the identification and classification of species of plants that could either be used as a food source or other resource, or that were otherwise poisonous in some way to humans or other animals.
Botany includes studies focusing on a number of different areas, including the study of plant structures and their function; the growth and differentiation of various species of plants; reproduction of plants; evolutionary relationships between plants; and the link between plant life and various diseases. In modern years, botany has also included a strong genetic component, working to understand genetic expression and how this can be manipulated for significant results. Botany has a wide and diverse reach throughout society, ranging from providing greater access to and yields from staple crops to purposes in the forestry industry. This variety in function and the broad scope of the field allows for ample research in multiple avenues to be conducted on a consistent basis, furthering our understanding of this aspect of the natural world.