Early civilization in different parts of the world has
domesticated different species of plants for various purposes. Based on their
utility, the economically useful plants are classified into food plants, fodder
plants, fibre plants, timber plants, medicinal plants, and plants used in paper
industries, dyes and cosmetics.
However, food base of majority of the population depends on very
few Cereals, Millets, Pulses, Vegetables, Fruits, Nuts, Sugars, Oil seeds,
Beverages, Spices and Condiments.
Oils can be classified into two types namely, essential oils and
vegetable oils. Fatty acids in oil may be saturated or unsaturated. The oil
yielding plants are groundnut, sesame, sunflower, coconut and mustard. The oils
are used in cooking, making soaps and other purposes. Beverages contain
alkaloids that stimulate central nervous system. Non alcoholic beverages
are coffee, tea and cocoa. Spices were used throughout the world for several
years. Cardamom is ‘Queen of Spices’ used for flavouring confectionaries and
beverages. Black pepper is King of Spices.
Botanically a fibre is a long, narrow, thick walled cell. It is
classified based on uses: textile fibres, brush fibres, plaiting fibres and
filling fibres. Cotton, Jute and Coconut are fibre yielding plants. Teak,
Rosewood, and Ebony are woods used for making furniture. Rubber is produced
from the latex of Hevea brasiliensis. Paper production is a Chinese invention.
Dyes have been used since ancient times. Indigo was extracted from the leaves of
Indigofera. The orange dye henna is from the leaves of Lawsonia. Cosmetics have
a high commercial value and have become chemical based industrial products.
Perfumes are volatile and aromatic in nature, manufactured from essential oils
which are found at different parts of the plant. Medicinal plants serve as
therapeutic agents. Medicinally useful molecules obtained from these plants are
marketed as drugs are called Biomedicines. Whereas phytochemicals from some of
the plants which alter an individual’s perceptions of mind by producing
hallucination are known as psychoactive drugs. Thus plantsplay a vital role in
the lives of people throughout the world.
Entrepreneurial Botany is the study of how new businesses are
created using plant resources as well as the actual process of starting a new
business. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of edible fungi and is the most
priced commodity among vegetables.
Single-cell proteins are the dried cells of microorganism, which
are used as protein supplement in human foods or animal feeds. Microorganisms
like algae, fungi, yeast and bacteria are used for this purpose.
A terrarium is a collection of small plants growing in a
transparent, sealed container. Bonsai is the art and science of dwarfing and
shaping of a tree. Specialty materials like essential oils and pharmaceuticals,
are obtained from plants. Many species of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs)
are cultivated for such industrial uses, but most are still wild collected.
substance reduces friction.
Smell (pleasant or unpleasant).
that promote urine production
chronic liver disease typically caused by alcoholism or hepatitis.
A substance that scavenges free radicals.
A drug causing expulsion of gas from the stomach or bowel.
excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and / or nutrients
Mycelium especially prepared for propagating mushrooms
crops: Plants that produce aromatic oils.
The art or process of making perfume
substances or products used foe personal grooming.
a place where confections/ sweets are kept or made
the property of a substance or treatment that reduces swelling.
disease: A type of dementia that causes problems with
memory, thinking and behavior
Ethnobiology is the study of relationships between peoples and plants.
Is a book containing directions for the identification of compound medicines,
and published by the authority of a government or a medical or pharmaceutical
A substance used to reduce the evaporation rate and improve stability when
added to more volatile components.
Products whose primary function is to inhibit perspiration / sweat
The processing of food with spices and condiments to enhance the flavour.