Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany

Watch Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany

  • 2017
  • 1 Season

Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany is a fascinating and comprehensive course from The Great Courses Signature Collection, starring botanist and professor Catherine Kleier. This 24-lecture series provides a comprehensive, engaging, and understandable introduction to the science of botany.

Kleier guides viewers through the fundamentals of plant science, including the anatomy of plants, plant physiology, plant growth and development, plant ecology, plant evolution, and the classification of plant species. The course covers the essential information necessary for anyone with an interest in plants, from gardening enthusiasts to professional botanists.

One of the most informative aspects of the course is its focus on plant anatomy. Viewers gain an understanding of plant structures – from the cellular level to the complex structures of trees and flowers – and the functions of each. Lights, diagrams, and close-up images are used to illustrate the inner workings and the physiology of plants. Kleier also takes viewers through the various systems of plant classification and the relationship between plant anatomy and classification.

Plant growth and development are key topics of the course, and Kleier uses engaging animations to explain how plants grow and the key factors that influence growth. She explores the different types of plant hormones and their functions in growth control, and how environment and other external factors can affect plant growth.

Another important topic covered in Plant Science is plant ecology. Kleier explains how plants interact with the environment around them, the various symbiotic relationships they form with soil microbes, and the impacts of human activities on plant ecosystems. The course also covers the complex relationship between plants and pollinators, including bats, birds, butterflies, and bees.

The course covers the history of plant evolution and the evolution of plant development over time. Kleier explains how plants have evolved through adaptive radiation, convergent evolution, and co-evolution with other organisms. She also describes how plants have adapted to various environments, such as deserts, alpine zones, and aquatic ecosystems.

Throughout the course, Kleier emphasizes the importance of plants in our daily lives, including the crucial role they play in both our environment and our own lives. She highlights various medicinal plants, their uses, and the importance of preserving plant biodiversity. She also explores how plants have played a significant role in human cultures and spirituality.

Kleier’s delivery style is engaging, clear, and enthusiastic. She has a deep knowledge of her subject matter, and her passion for her topics is evident. She uses analogies, stories, and examples to illustrate key concepts and ensure that viewers can understand the material, regardless of their background or experience with botany.

The production quality of the series is impressive, with high-definition visuals, sound, and lighting. Detailed diagrams, close-up images, and animations are used throughout the course to enhance visualization and help viewers grasp the complexities of the plant world.

Overall, Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany is an excellent course that offers a comprehensive, engaging, and understandable introduction to botany. It is suitable for anyone who is interested in plants, from hobbyists to professionals, and it is also an excellent tool for educators looking to introduce their students to the fascinating world of botany. The series reflects the high quality and rigor for which The Great Courses collection is rightly famous, and should be a valuable addition to any collection.

Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (24 episodes). The series first aired on April 28, 2017.

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Modifying the Genes of Plants
24. Modifying the Genes of Plants
April 28, 2017
Genetically modified organisms are in the news almost every day. They are lauded for solving numerous agricultural problems and reviled for their perceived "Frankenstein" nature. But what is the truth about GMOs? Learn what scientists have accomplished, what might be possible in the future, and the very real dilemmas we face in this brave new world of plant science.
Bad Plants Aren't So Bad
23. Bad Plants Aren't So Bad
April 28, 2017
About 600 species of plants eat animals. Others are outfitted with poison-injecting hairs you do not want to trigger. And then there are the "everyday" poison oak, ivy, and sumac. But the real plants to fear? The invasive species that have taken over millions of acres, to the detriment of species diversity, animal habitat, and entire economic systems.
Alpine Cold Makes Plants Do Funny Things
22. Alpine Cold Makes Plants Do Funny Things
April 28, 2017
Alpine plants face a short growing season, freezing nights almost year-round, extraordinarily high light levels on cloudless days, fierce wind, and severe lack of moisture. Learn how the unique rosette and cushion morphologies allow alpine plants to thrive in this environment - as well as provide a sheltered place for other plants to germinate - and how heliotropism aids in pollination.
How Temperate Trees Change Color and Grow
21. How Temperate Trees Change Color and Grow
April 28, 2017
Trees are a wonderful example of convergent evolution. While many trees are evergreen and others are drought deciduous, temperate trees lose their leaves in the winter because the trade-off of keeping a leaf from freezing doesn't offset the photosynthetic gain. But even after the leaves turn color and drop, the tree roots of some trees can still forage through the soil for nutrients.
The Desert Bonanza of Plant Shapes
20. The Desert Bonanza of Plant Shapes
April 28, 2017
Deserts contain the largest variety of plant shapes on earth. Along with these multiple morphological adaptations to a lack of water, desert plants have also developed an alternative pathway to photosynthesis, opening their stomata at night, storing the CO2, and using it during the day with closed stomata, thereby avoiding daytime water loss.
Shrublands of Roses and Wine
19. Shrublands of Roses and Wine
April 28, 2017
Not an herb and not a tree, shrubs' in-between status carries ecological advantages allowing them to grow almost everywhere. Many are fire-adapted, some communicate through volatile organic compounds released by the leaves, and others exude chemicals from their roots that prevent other plants from growing nearby.
The Complexity of Grasses and Grasslands
18. The Complexity of Grasses and Grasslands
April 28, 2017
The grassland ecosystem - steppe, prairie, savanna, and rangeland - is found on every continent except Antarctica. Estimated to cover almost one-third of the land area of the planet, grasses developed unusual adaptations related to the location of their growth tissue and their specific mechanism of photosynthesis. Learn how grasses play a major role in the development of human society.
Why the Tropics Have So Many Plant Species
17. Why the Tropics Have So Many Plant Species
April 28, 2017
From the shade-adapted plants living on the rainforest floor to the epiphytes in the top of the canopy - and the myriad plants and animals in between - tropical regions are the most diverse ecosystems on land. Learn about the unique ways in which bromeliads, orchids, and lianas, among others, "make their living" near the top of this diverse ecosystem.
Water Plants Came from Land
16. Water Plants Came from Land
April 28, 2017
Learn how seagrasses, mangroves, and other aquatic plants evolved to tolerate low light levels, anaerobic and nutrient-poor sediments, and the difficulty of getting CO2 into submerged leaves and stems. They also benefit surrounding ecosystems by keeping excess nutrients from the ocean, trapping river and ocean-floor sediments, and providing habitat and protection for animals.
Plant Seeds Get Around
15. Plant Seeds Get Around
April 28, 2017
The evolution of the seed was a major advantage for land plants. But unlike gymnosperms, the flowering plants produce a fruit around that seed, aiding in germination, dispersal, or both. Learn about the many fascinating ways seeds are dispersed - from animal deposition, to wind and water dispersal, to seed explosion.
The Many Forms of Fruit: Tomatoes to Peanuts
14. The Many Forms of Fruit: Tomatoes to Peanuts
April 28, 2017
If you think you know the difference between a fruit, a nut, and a fungus - think again. Learn the real difference between nuts, fruits, and seeds, and why so many foods we eat carry misleading common names. As for those beautiful and tasty fungi, you might be surprised to find out they have more in common with you than with plants!
The Coevolution of Who Pollinates Whom
13. The Coevolution of Who Pollinates Whom
April 28, 2017
Which came first - the pollen or the pollinator? Learn about the special evolutionary relationship between specific flowers and the insects, birds, and mammals that play a necessary role in plant reproduction. The flowers' morphology, color, and quality and quantity of scent are all related to "their" animals' body shape, sense organs, and more in this never-ending co-evolutionary tango.
Secrets of Flower Power
12. Secrets of Flower Power
April 28, 2017
Flowering plants arrived relatively late in geological time. But once here, they evolved quickly and often displaced many other types of plants. In fact, in terms of species, flowering plants are the dominant plant form on Earth today with more than 300,000 types. Learn how their unique reproductive mechanisms led to this explosion of speciation in such a relatively short time.
Why Conifers Are Holiday Plants
11. Why Conifers Are Holiday Plants
April 28, 2017
Meet the conifers, well-adapted to snow, wind, fire, and low-nutrient soils. Learn how the unique properties of conifers allow them to claim the largest forest on Earth, the oldest living tree, and the tallest plant - with a growth rate of up to six feet per year. Conifers are also the source of one of the most prescribed cancer drugs on the market.
Advent of Seeds: Cycads and Ginkgoes
10. Advent of Seeds: Cycads and Ginkgoes
April 28, 2017
While spores have continued to provide effective reproduction through the millennia, evolution has led to several successful alternatives. In a little package of embryonic roots, stems, leaves, and nourishment, a seed offers the ability to lie dormant until conditions are right for the highest chance of survival. Learn about the unique properties of the cycads, gingkos, and gnetophytes.
Days and Years in the Lives of Plants
9. Days and Years in the Lives of Plants
April 28, 2017
How do plants "choose" the best time to flower? Do they sense the daylight hours becoming longer in the springtime? Or do they sense the nights becoming shorter? Learn which pigments interact with sunlight to serve as chemical clocks for flowering plants and what roles are played by messenger RNA and temperature - including their part in climate change.
Photosynthesis Everyone Should Understand
8. Photosynthesis Everyone Should Understand
April 28, 2017
Green plants generate their mass - whether the mass of the smallest blade of grass or the tallest tree on Earth - by synthesizing food from carbon dioxide and water via the energy from sunlight with the help of appropriate enzymes. See how the fascinating details of photosynthesis separate the plants from the animals.
The Leaf as a Biochemical Factory
7. The Leaf as a Biochemical Factory
April 28, 2017
Plants "know" when to shed their leaves or grow new ones via the same mechanism that causes the many developmental changes in our own bodies: hormones. Learn about the hormones that affect leaf growth and abscission - and the role played by Charles Darwin in their discovery.
Stems Are More Than Just the In-Between
6. Stems Are More Than Just the In-Between
April 28, 2017
Learn how the pressure flow hypothesis models the movement of sugars through the plant's phloem and xylem, and what plant structures determine whether the organism will grow in height, girth, or both. And while the stem functions to support the plant's branches and leaves, in some plants the stem is also the site of photosynthesis.
Roots and Symbiosis with Non-Plants
5. Roots and Symbiosis with Non-Plants
April 28, 2017
Photosynthesis might be the "star," but what takes place under the soil is just as imperative for plant survival. In fact, the root is so important that it's the first evidence of germination in the seed. Learn how roots physically support the plant, absorb water and minerals, and store carbohydrates, almost always relying on symbiosis with bacteria and fungi.
Fern Spores and the Vascular Conquest of Land
4. Fern Spores and the Vascular Conquest of Land
April 28, 2017
Botanists still struggle to unravel the full evolutionary history of ferns, hardy plants of staggering reproductive and colonization power. With billions of lightweight spores produced by each individual and the vasculature to transport nutrients throughout the plant, ferns are found in low-light and bright-light environments from the arctic regions to the tropics.
Moss Sex and Peat's Engineered Habitat
3. Moss Sex and Peat's Engineered Habitat
April 28, 2017
More than 425 million years ago, a group of plants called bryophytes developed two special adaptations that allowed them to inhabit dry land. Why are these early plants still so important today, both environmentally and commercially? And how does one of these most ancient species engineer its own habitat to the exclusion of more modern competitors?
Plants Are Like People
2. Plants Are Like People
April 28, 2017
Although our biology is significantly different than that of plants, scientists are discovering more and more similarities. We share quite a bit of DNA, thrive in moderate temperatures, have a circadian rhythm of rest and activity, require water for life, and can sense our environment and respond. Some scientists suggest that plants might even have developed a type of "hearing."
The Joy of Botany
1. The Joy of Botany
April 28, 2017
Although almost every child knows the difference between an elephant and a giraffe, few people of any age can name the plants they see out their window every single day. Solve this "plant blindness" by learning about the fascinating lifeforms to whom we owe so much: oxygen, food, medicine, materials - but also fascination and joy.#Better Living
Where to Watch Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany
Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany is available for streaming on the The Great Courses Signature Collection website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Plant Science: An Introduction to Botany on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime, Amazon and Hoopla.
  • Premiere Date
    April 28, 2017