30. Three great departments in nature are universally recognized, commonly called the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. The first constitutes the Inorganic, the other two the Organic World.
31. A mineral is an inorganic mass of matter, that is, without distinction of parts or organs. A stone, for example, may be broken into any number of fragments, each of which will retain all the essential characteristics of the original body, so that each fragment will still be a stone.
32. A plant is an organized body, endowed with vitality but not with sensation, composed of distinct parts, each of which is essential to the completeness of its being. A tulip is composed of organs which may be separated and subdivided indefinitely, but no one of the fragments alone will be a complete plant.
33. Animals, like plants, are organized bodies endowed with vitality, and composed of distinct parts, no one of which is complete in itself, but they are elevated above either plants or minerals by their power of perception.
34 These distinctions, long since suggested by Linnaeus, the founder of botani-cal science, are perfectly obvious and definite in the higher grades of the animal and vegetable kingdoms. But in descending the scale, we recognize a gradual approach, in both, to inorganic matter, and consequently to each other, so that in the lowest forms of life all traces of organization are lost to our perception, and the three kingdoms of nature, like converging radii, apparently meet and blend in a common centre.
35. The position OF THE
PLANT-WORLD IN RANK and office is intermediate. While inferior to the animal in respect to perception and instinct, it is superior to the mineral in its vitality. In office it constitutes the food and nourishment of the animal, the vesture and ornament of the mineral world, whence alone itself is fed. In other words, plants feed on minerals, animals feed on plants.
36. Physics is the general name of the science which treats of the mineral or inorganic world.
37. Zoology relates to the animal kingdom.
38. Botany is the science of the vegetable kingdom. It includes the knowledge of the forms, organs, structure, growth, and uses of plants, together with their history and classification. Its several departments correspond to the various subjects to which they relate. Thus
39. Structural botany, or Organography, treats of the special organs of plants as compared with each other, answering to Comparative Anatomy in the science of Zoology. Morphology is a term often used in a similar sense; but it especially relates to the mutual or typical transformations which the organs undergo in the course of development.
.40. Elementary botany treats of the elementary tissues - the organic elements out of which the vegetable fabric is constructed.
Figure 1. A diagram illustrating these views of the three kingdoms of nature - how related to each other.
41. Physiological botany is that department which relates to the vital action of the several organs and tissues, including both the vital and chemical phenomena in the germination, growth, and reproduction of plants. It has, therefore, a direct and practical bearing upon the labors of husbandry in the propagation and culture of plants, both in the garden and in the field.
42. Systematic botany arises from the consideration of plants in relation to each other. It aims to arrange and classify plants into groups and families, according to their mutual affinities and relative rank, so as to constitute of them all one unbroken series or system.
43. Descriptive botany, or phytology, is the art of expressing the distinctive characters of species and groups of plants with accuracy and precision, in order to their complete recognition. A flora is a descriptive work of this kind, embracing the plants of some particular country or district.
44. Botanical Nomenclature, which is the art of properly applying names to the species and groups, is intimately associated with the above department. Terminology relates to the explanation and application of botanical terms whereby the organs of plants, with their numerous modifications, are accurately designated. This is, therefore, inseparable from Structural Botany.
45. Ultimate aim of botany. Finally, in its extended sense, Botany comprehends also the knowledge of the relations of plants to the other departments of nature, particularly to mankind. The ultimate aim of its researches is the development of the boundless resources of the vegetable kingdom for our sustenance and protection as well as education; for the healing of our diseases and the alleviation of our wants and woes. This branch of botanical science is called
-16. Applied botany. It includes also several departments, as Medical Botany, or Pharmacy, Agricultural Botany, or Chemistry, Pomology, etc.
47. Plan of the work. In the following pages, designed as a complete although compendious treatise for the special convenience of the learner, we shall commence with Structural Botany, whose subjects (the constituent organs of plants) are conspicuous and most readily comprehended. .
48. Secondly, the cell and the elementary tissues will claim our attention. Thirdly, we shall inquire into the vital activities of all these organs, and endeavor to explain the phenomena of vegetable life. Fourthly, the principles of vegetable nutrition which constitute the foundation of agricultural science.
49. In the fifth place we shall treat of Systematic Botany, the principles of arrangement adopted in the Natural System, and the methods of Botanical Analysis.
50. Lastly, the Natural Orders will be defined, and illustrated by our flora, both native and cultivated.
51. Notwithstanding the extreme brevity of this work, the author believes that no principle of the science essential to a liberal course in Botany is omitted. The brevity is attained by a studied conciseness of expression, and by the omission of all needless illustrations, theoretical views and wordy discussions. In the flora those multitudinous repetitions which are liable to encumber the descriptions of allied groups are avoided, without the sacrifice of minuteness by means of copious tables of analysis.