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Botany - Summary - Taxonomy and Systematic Botany | 11th Botany : Chapter 5 : Taxonomy and Systematic Botany

Chapter: 11th Botany : Chapter 5 : Taxonomy and Systematic Botany

Summary - Taxonomy and Systematic Botany

State Flower of Tamil Nadu : Gloriosa superba

State Flower of Tamil Nadu : Gloriosa superba

The name of Gloriosa superba is composed of two greek words Gloriosa means full of glor y, superba means superb.

This plant was placed earlier in Liliaceae. 


Taxonomy deals with the identification, naming and classification of plants. But systematics deals with evolutionary relationship between the organisms in addition to taxonomy. Taxonomic hierarchy was introduced by Carolus Linnaeus. It also includes ranks. Species is the fundamental unit of taxonomic classification. Species concept can be classified into two groups based on the process of evolution and product of evolution. There are three types of species, morphological, biological and phylogenetic species. Type concept emphasizes that a specimen must be associated with the scientific name which is known as nomenclatural type. There are different types and they are holotype, isotype, lectotype etc. Taxonomic aids are the tools for the taxonomic study such as keys, flora, revisions, catalogues, botanical gardens and herbaria. Botanical gardens serve different purposes. They have aesthetic value, offers scope for botanical research, conservation of rare species and propagation of many species. Botanical survey of India explores and documents biodiversity all over India. It has 11 regional centres in India. Herbarium preparation includes plant collection, documentation of field data, preparation of plant specimens, mounting and labelling. There are several national and international herbaria. National herbaria include MH, PCM, CAL etc. Kew herbarium is the world’s largest one.

Classification is the basis for cataloguing and retrieving information about the tremendous diversity of flora. It helps us to know about different varieties, their phylogenetic relationship and exact position. Some important systems of classification are fall in to three types; artificial, natural and phylogenetic. Carolus Linnaeus outlined an artificial system of classification in “Species Plantarum” in 1753. The first scheme of classification based on overall similarities was presented by Antoine Laurent De Jessieu in 1789. A widely followed natural system of classification was proposed by George Bentham (1800 - 1884) and Joseph Dalton Hooker. This system was not intended to be phylogenetic. One of the earliest phylogenetic systems of classification was jointly proposed by Adolf Engler and Karl A Prantl in a monumental work “Die Naturelichen Pflanzen Familien”. Arthur Cronquist proposed phylogenetic classification of flowering plants based on a wide range of taxonomic characters including anatomical and phytochemical of phylogenetic importance in his book titled “The evolution and classification of flowering plants.”Angiosperm phylogeny group (APG) classification is the most recent classification of flowering plants based on phylogenetic data. APG system is an evolving and currently accepted system across the world and followed by all the leading taxonomic institutions and practising taxonomists.


Cladistics is the methodology, used to classify organisms into monophyletic groups, consisting of all the descents of the common ancestors. The outcome of a cladistic analysis is a cladogram and is constructed to represent the best hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships. Chemotaxonomy is the scientific approach of classification of plants on the basis of their biochemical constituents in them. Utilization of the characters of chromosome for the taxonomic inference is known as karyotaxonomy. The application of serology in solving taxonomic problems is called serotaxonomy. Molecular Taxonomy is the branch of phylogeny that analyses hereditary molecular differences, mainly in DNA nuclear and chloroplast sequences, to gain information and to establish genetic relationship between the members of different taxonomic categories. Different molecular markers like allozymes, mitochondrial DNA, microsatellites, RAPDs, AFLPs, single nucleotide polymorphism- SNP, microchips or arrays are used in analysis. Molecular Taxonomy unlocks the treasure chest of information on evolutionary history of organisms.It plays a vital role in phytogeography, which ultimately helps in genome mapping and biodiversity conservation. DNA barcoding is a taxonomic method that uses a very short genetic sequence from a standard part of a genome. It helps in identification of organisms.

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