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Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming plant and animal species, and organising them into systems of classification. Taxonomy deals with identification, nomenclature and classification of objects of biological origin. Though Taxonomy is an age old profession, Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist is regarded as Father of Modern Taxonomy.
Plant taxonomy is a branch of botany that is concerned with the identification, nomenclature and classification of plants. Plant taxonomy is the science that finds, describes, classifies, identifies, and names plants. Plant taxonomy is sometimes referred to as Systematic botany.
Those who specialize in this field are called as Plant Taxonomists. Plant Taxonomists study about plant species. Plant taxonomists are botanists who work to identify, describe, classify and name plant species. Plant taxonomists identify new plant species previously unknown to the field. They also produce new source of plant genes. Plant taxonomists collect and study groups of plants, focusing on the ways species arise, relationships among them, and selective forces that have molded their characteristics. They are the scientists who classify the plant species and collect information about the species prior to its extinction. Plant Taxonomist plays a pivotal role in preserving the plant resources available in the nature.
Two goals of plant taxonomy are the identification and classification of plants. Plant identification is the determination of the identity of an unknown plant by comparison with previously collected specimens or with the aid of books or identification manuals. Plant classification is the placing of known plants into groups or categories to show some relationship.
Plant taxonomy is considered as 'Mother of Plant sciences' as it is the basis for all the applied disciplines of plant sciences such as Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Pharmacognosy, Biotechnology and so on. It focuses on how plants diversify and relate to each other over time. This is both a creative and scientific process that uses scientific classification to divide plants into taxonomic ranks.
To become a plant taxonomist one must have at least a Masters degree in Botany with specialization in taxonomy. Plant taxonomy is offered as one among the different subjects in the B. Sc and M. Sc botany courses and after completion of these courses, they should get specialized in plant taxonomy either in M.Phil. ( Master of Philosophy) or in Ph.D ( Doctor of Philosophy) degree in Botany.
Job Prospects & Career Options
Plant taxonomists usually work in herbariums, botanical gardens and plant museums. Candidates can also get employment in universities, conservatories and research institutes. In universities and colleges, they can look for teaching positions, they can also find placement in the research department of the institutions. They can find lucrative career opportunities in reputed research organizations like National Botanical Research Institute and Rain Forest Research Institute.
Plant Taxonomists also have career opportunities in reputed government institutions like Botanical Survey of India, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) under Ministry of Environment. Entry to Botanical Survey of India and other Government departments is through UPSC exams. The notification of various post is known through leading newspapers and employment news.
Most taxonomists are engaged in field work, which involves arduous physical activity as well as environments that are unsafe or uncomfortable.
Teachers, researchers and others can expect a starting salary from Rs 18000 to Rs 20000 per month. In Govt. service pay scale range from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000. One can earn more with the experience and higher qualification.