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MHS Library | Life Science


Botanists are scientists dedicated to the study of plant life. Botanists work to understand plant life, growth, structure and classification. Botany is a branch of biology since plants are living organisms.

Shrubs & Trees

Flowering plants, shrubs and trees provide the environment with much needed oxygen and fight soil erosion. They also provide food and shelter for many animals, as well as contribute to the fertility of soil with their dead leaves and flowers. See Full List (Over 350)


Fruits are the seed-bearing parts of plants. Fruits are often fleshy, edible substances containing juices and nutrients beneficial to humans and animals. However, many fruits are commonly mistaken as vegetables. See Full List


Nuts are hard, dry, single-seeded fruits which do not open at maturity. Nuts provide nourishment for any animals that are able to open the shells. Many fruits are called nuts, even though biologists would not classify them as such.


Grasses are shallow-rooted perennials that have long, narrow leaves with veins running parallel to their length. Grasses, which are often herbs, typically grow in large masses, though some grasses, like bamboo, are large and woody. See Full List


Vegetables are plants raised for some edible part, such as the leaves, roots, fruit or flowers. Vegetables exclude any plant that is thought to be a fruit in the culinary sense. The term vegetable also refers to the edible part of a plant.


Fungi make up one of the five kingdom classifications. Fungi lack chlorophyll and therefore have to absorb nutrients from decaying organisms. Fungi produce helpful substances like penicillin but can also cause damage to plants and humans.

Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices are used to flavor food. Herbs are plants lacking permanent woody stems and are valued for qualities such as medicinal properties, flavor and scent. Spices are made from vegetative substances such as seeds, roots and barks.


Legumes produce their fruit as a pod and generally possess nitrogen-fixing bacteria in nodules on their roots. Because of those bacteria, legumes increase soil's nitrogen content. Some examples of legumes are soybeans, peas and alfalfa. See Full List