BOTANY, HISTORY or. As the practice ofeultivating plants both for pleasure and utility was coeval with the first formation of man, it is natural to suppose that the science of botany was one of the earliest studies which engag the attention of inquirers. Aristotle, in his history of animals, has many remarks on plants, drawing a comparison between their mode of growth and that of animals, and point ing out in what animal and vegetable life agree and in what they differ. Ills disciple, Theo phrastus, has devoted a whole work to his favourite subject, and has not only marked the distinctions between trees, shrubs, herbs, and flowers, but treated of the different parts of plants, as the root, stem, leaand fruit ; show ing their diversity in form, habit, colour, mode of growth, and other interesting particulars, which he has illustrated by giving the names of not less than five hundred different plants, by way of example. Except the descriptions or allusions of the poets to favourite plants, there is nothing further to be found on the sub ject of botany until the time of the Romans. Virgil, in his Georgics, speaks of the uses and culture of several plants connected with hus bandry. Pliny, in his Natural History, de scribes not less than one thousand species of plants, but without any other order than in connexion with the places where they were indigenous. Antonius Musa describes the virtues of the plant betony. Colnmella treats of plants in an agricultural point of view. Dioscorides, Galen, Onbasiris, Paulus /Ege Acta, and Aetius, have desciibed the medicinal virtues of plants much at large. After these writers the subject of botany appears to have been almost forgotten, otherwise than it was pursued by the Arabians in conjunction with the science of medicine. In Europe, at least, we find that it was altogether neglected until the sixteenth century, when a number of bo tanists sprung up in Germany, England, Hob. land, Italy, and France, who, as their works testify, prosecuted the subject with great zeal. Prosper Alpinus wrote several books on the plants of Egypt and other exotics. Clusius, a French botanist, wrote on the rarer kind of plants. Many other botanists in this and the following centuries wrote general histories of the plants which came within their observa tion, particularly Cssalpinus in his work De Plants; libri an. ; Delechamp, in his Historia. Generalis Plantarnm • J. Bauhin, in his His: Loris Plantarum ; C. Bauhin, in his Phytopi nax ; Gerard; in his Herbal ; Parkinson, in his Theatrum Botanicum ; Ray, in his Histo• ma Plantarum ; Commelinus, in his Hortua Malabaricus ; Tournefort, in his Institutiones Rei Herbaria;; Boerbaave, in his Index alter Plantarum Horti Academici Lugduni; Vall iant, in his Botanicon Parisiense; besides Fuchsius, Matthiolus, Dodonmus, Camerarius, Bregnius, Rheedius, Brunfels, Plukenet, Plumier, &c.
Cmsalpinus, in the sixteenth century, was the first who properly systematized botany. He formed fifteen classes from the fruit and the situation of the corculum. Since his time many systems have been formed from different parts of the plants. Ray chose the flower, fruit, and external appearance of the plants, for the foundation of his system. Camellus framed a system from the valves of the capsule, calling his classes pericarpia, for; unifora, bi fora, &c. Rivinus selected the corolla, di viding the plants into fibres regulares, compo sits, and irregulares, and these again into um nopetali, dipetali, Haller formed a nets ral system from the cotyledons, the calyx, the corolla, the stamina, and the sexes of the plants ; but the system most generally adopted berere the time of Linnmus was that of Tour nefort He divided plants into herbs et suf frutices, arbores et frutices, and these again into herbs floribus monolietalis, campanifor mibus, infundebilifortnibus, &c.
Linnmus, the most eminent naturalist of all. who went before him or followed after him, was born the beginning of the eighteenth cen tury, and having devoted his attention to the vegetable as well as the animal and mineral kingdoms, framed a system for the whole, called after him the Linnwan system, which has been universally adopted by scientific men in all parts of the world. His system is com posed of classes, orders, genera, species, and varieties. The class is the largest of all the divisions, having under it the orders as subdi• visions : the genera are contained in the order, the species in thegenera, and the variety in the species. This system, as respect' plants, is also called the sexual system, because It em braces the sexes of plants in the scheme. The classes, twenty.four in number, are distin guished either according to the number or situation of the stamens, filaments, anthers, or male and female flowers, in each plant, as mortandria, for those having one stamen; di andria, for those having two stamens; trian dria, for those having three stamens ; so te tniodria, pentandria, hexandria, heptandria, octandria, enneandria, and decandria, for those having from four to ten stamens. Those having from eleven to seventeen stamens were included under the class dodecandria ; those having many stamens inserted in the calyx under the class icesandria; throe having twen ty stamens and upwards under polyandria; those having four stamens in one flower, two longer than the others, didynamia; three having six stamens, two shorter than the rest, tetradynamia ; those having their filaments connected into the form of a cylinder or tube, monodelphis ; those having two such cylin ders, diadelphia ; those having the anthers formed into a tube, syngenesia; those having the stamens standing in the style, gynandria ; those having stamens and pistils in separate flowers, but in one plant, monoecia ; those having the stamens and pistils in separate plants, dioecia ; those having stamens and pistils separate in some flowers and united in others, polygantia; these having these parts of fructification either not well ascertained, or not to be numbered with certainty, cryptogauda. The orders, or subdivisions of the classes, from the first to the thirteenth class inclusive, are marked by the number of pistils in each plant, as monogynia for those having one pis til, so digynia, trig,ynia, tetragynia, pentagy nia, hexagynia, and polygynia, for those ha ving two, three, four, five, six, seven, or more pistils. The two orders gymnospermis, for those having the seed naked, and angiosper mia, for those whose seeds are contained in a pericarp, belong to class didynamia; the two orders silimalosa and silicinesa, for those whose seeds are contained in a saki= of different Fires, belong to class tetradynamia. In most of the other classes the orders are marked by the number of stamens in each plant, except syngenesia, in which the orders polygamia squalls, polygamia superflua, polygamist frus Lance, polygamia necessaria, and polygamia segregate, mark the connexion of the flower. Under the last class, cryptogamia, are contain ed four orders, filieee, the ferns; musci, the mosses; algm, the seaweeds ; and fungi, the funguses, or mushrooms.