Plant physiology is a subdiscipline of botany concerned with the functioning, or physiology, of plants. Closely related fields include plant morphology (structure of plants), plant ecology (interactions with the environment), phytochemistry (biochemistry of plants), cell biology, genetics, biophysics and molecular biology.
Fundamental processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, plant nutrition, plant hormone functions, tropisms, nastic movements, photoperiodism, photomorphogenesis, circadian rhythms, environmental stress physiology, seed germination, dormancy and stomata function and transpiration, both parts of plant water relations, are studied by plant physiologists.
Plant morphology or phytomorphology is the study of the physical form and external structure of plants. This is usually considered distinct from plant anatomy, which is the study of the internal structure of plants, especially at the microscopic level. Plant morphology is useful in the visual identification of plants.
Plant morphology "represents a study of the development, form, and structure of plants, and, by implication, an attempt to interpret these on the basis of similarity of plan and origin." There are four major areas of investigation in plant morphology, and each overlaps with another field of the biological sciences.
Plant taxonomy is the science that finds, identifies, describes, classifies, and names plants. Thus making it one of the main branches of taxonomy(the science that finds, describes, classifies, and names living things).
Plant taxonomy is closely allied to plant systematics, and there is no sharp boundary between the two. In practice, "Plant systematics" involves relationships between plants and their evolution, especially at the higher levels, whereas "plant taxonomy" deals with the actual handling of plant specimens. The precise relationship between taxonomy and systematics, however, has changed along with the goals and methods employed.
Plant anatomy or phytotomy is the general term for the study of the internal structure of plants. While originally it included plant morphology, which is the description of the physical form and external structure of plants, since the mid-20th century the investigations of plant anatomy are considered a separate, distinct field, and plant anatomy refers to just the internal plant structures. Plant anatomy is now frequently investigated at the cellular level, and often involves the sectioning of tissues and microscopy.
Plant anatomy is often divided into the following categories: