Scope is defined as a range of matters that is dealt with or studied pertaining to a particular theme. Since early civilisation, man has been using plants for various purposes besides food, clothes and shelter. With time, the scope of botany has increased to unlimited proportions. Now we cannot think of any human activity without the involvement of plants.
The Scope of botany deals with the course content of plant sciences and the utility of plants in relation to mankind. The previous section, dealing with branches of botany, refers to the course content; whereas, the next section dealing in detail with botany in relation to mankind is another important aspect of scope. An attempt is made here to give a synopsis of the scope of botany. For a detailed account of the scope, the section dealing with branches and the section dealing with the relation of botany with mankind may be put together.
The course content of botany is so vast that the number of branches covering it is on the increase. Branches like morphology, anatomy, histology and cytology give us an idea about what plants are, and to what extent they are diverse. The diversity of plant kingdom can be studied by dividing the plants into groups on the basis of similarities (Taxonomy).
The functional aspects of plants are covered in plant physiology and the chemistry involved in plants and plant processes in biochemistry. Plant diseases along with the control measures are studied in plant pathology.
Answers to questions like why organisms are similar and why do they differ can be found in the study of heredity and variation under the heading genetics. While information on the origin and evolution of plants can be obtained from organic evolution, the study on how an organism originates, develops and matures can be known in the branch named embryology.
Interaction of plants with the surroundings is a vital aspect of plan life and such aspects are dealt in ecology or environmental biology.
The knowledge about the-distribution of plants on earth’s surface is dealt under phytogeography. Knowledge on fossil plants enables us to know about the extinct plants and their distribution in the geological time table.
The scope of botany also includes the benefits derived from the plant world. The entire living world, especially man, is directly or indirectly dependent on plants.
More information about the utility of plants can be known from the study of agriculture, horticulture, arboriculture, olericulture, floriculture.
Modern branches like biotechnology and genetic engineering tell us how best the genomes of plants can be utilised and modified for the benefit of mankind.
Besides the basic necessities, plants are of aesthetic importance to man, providing peace of mind.
Botany, along with its allied branches, provides employment opportunities. It is a prerequisite for studying medicine or pharmacy. There is also enormous employment scope in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc.