Name of Collection: BOTANY



Phone: 718 381-9600 ext. 600

Fax: 718 417-8457

Librarian: Sherry Hirsch

Librarian's e-mail:

Introduction: Botany is the branch of biology that encompasses the study of the structure, properties, and biochemical processes of all forms of plant life including trees. Included within this scope are plant classification and the interactions of plants with their physical environment.

Questions for Inquiry:

  • Which plants are associated with medicinal use?
  • What is the impact of rain forests on the environment and human life?
  • What are carnivorous plants?
  • What is the role of plants in the cycle of nature?
  • What are the concerns associated with genetic engineering?
  • What are the rules for naming plants?
  • How do investigators use plants and trees to solve crime?

Keywords: Horticulture, Plants, Flowers,Trees, Shrubs, Microorganisms: fungi and algae

Subject Headings:


Dewey Decimal Classification(s):

  • 577 ECOLOGY
  • 580 BOTANY: Use for materials on the science of plants, subdivisions of Botany may be used under the names of orders, classes or individual species of plants
  • 580 PLANTS: Use for nonscientific materials
  • 582.16 TREES
  • 631.5 GARDENING

Key Books


Single Volume Books
R635.903A Brickell, Christopher and Trevor Cole, eds. American Horticultural Society
Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers. New York: DK Publishing, 2002.

R635T Tenenbaum, Frances, ed. Taylor’s Encyclopedia of Garden Plants.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2003.

Multi-Volume Encyclopedias
R571.3ANI Animal and Plant Anatomy. 11 vols. New York: Marshall Cavendish,2007.

R580P Bailey, Jim. Plants and Plant Life. 10 vols. Danbury, CT.: Grolier Educational, 2001.

R333.95END Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World. 13 vols. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2001.

R580.3M Magills Encyclopedia of Science: Plant Life. 4 vols. Pasadena, Ca.: Salem Press, 2003.

R580.3P Moore, David M. ed. Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Plants and Earth Sciences. 10 vols. New York:
Marshall Cavendish, 2001.

R578.734RAI Rain Forests of the World. 11 vols. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2002.

R 577.82U Weigel, Marlene. UXL Encyclopedia of Biomes. 3 vols. Detroit: UXL, 1999.


General Collection
577.3W Warhol, Tom. Forest. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2007.
577.4H Hoare, Ben. Temperate Grasslands. Austin, Tx.: Steck-Vaughn Co., 2003.
577.6 Stewart, Melissa. Life in a Wetland. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2003.
578 Thomas, David N. Seaweeds. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Presss, 2002.
580 Stern, Kingsley R. Introductory Plant Biology. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2000.
581 Halfmann, Janet. Plant Tricksters. New York: Franklin Watts, 2004
582 Pakenham, Thomas. Remarkable Trees of the World. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2002.
583 Schnell, Donald E. Carnivorous Plants of the United States and Canada. Portland, Oregon:
Timber Press, 2002.
630 Prance, Sir Ghillean ed. The Cultural History of Plants. New York: Routledge, 2005.
631 Gordon, Susan, ed. Critical Perspectives on Genetically Modified Crops and Food. New York:
Prentice Hall Press, 1991.
635.9H Hill, Lewis and Nancy Hill. The Flower Gardener’s Bible. North Adams, MA.:
Storey Publishing,2003.

Magazine Articles

• Print;


Give and Take. By: Brownlee, C.. Science News, 11/13/2004, Vol. 166 Issue 20, p307-308 The article reports that scientists have only recently found evidence of horizontal gene transfer in plants. Two groups of researchers-one led by Jeffrey Palmer of Indiana University in Bloomington and the other by Charles Davis of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor-reported independently that some host plants pass their genes to the parasitic plant species that feed off them. Although the researchers are not sure how the gene transfer took place, they speculate that it required tight physical contact between the parasites and their host plants. Although the foreign atp1 gene that the researchers found in some Plantago species does not appear to function, Palmer suggests that horizontal transfer may have played a significant role in introducing genes for important traits in plants. Reading Level (Lexile): 1360;

Breaking New Ground: Soil Communities and Exotic Plant Invasion. By: Wolfe, Benjamin E.; Klironomos, John N.. Bioscience, Jun2005, Vol. 55 Issue 6, p477-487

Long search reveals cell receptor for plant growth. By: S. N.. Science News, 7/2/2005, Vol. 168 Issue 1, p14-14 This article focuses on the plant hormone auxin. More than 70 years after biologists identified the powerful plant hormone auxin, they have finally found how plant cells detect it. Auxin plays a role in just about every aspect of plant growth, from roots to shoots. In the May 26 Nature, two research groups independently report finding an auxin receptor in plant cells. One team, led by Mark Estelle of Indiana University in Bloomington, identified the receptor by using engineered insect cells to produce TIR1. The researchers then tested whether the protein would combine with auxin in a simplified environment devoid of hundreds of other plant chemicals. By adding specific compounds known to interact with auxin, the team confirmed that TIR1 binds directly to auxin. Similar results with TIR1 made by frog cells came from the other team, led by Stefan Kepinski of the Umeå Plant Science Center in Sweden and Ottoline Leyser of the University of York in England. Reading Level (Lexile): 1220;

Scent Stalking. By: Milius, S.. Science News, 9/30/2006, Vol. 170 Issue 14, p214-214 The article looks at research related to parasitic plant known as the "dodder." Scientists are reporting that the wiry orange plant finds plants to raid for nutrients by growing towards their smell. The plant responds to volatile compounds wafting off nearby plants and shows preferences for certain species, says Consuelo De Moraes of Pennsylvania State University in University Park. They say that their work marks the first time that anyone has shown that a plant will grow toward airborne chemicals from other plants. Reading Level (Lexile): 1240

Timely Gardening Tips for where you live. By: Mack, Carol. Mother Earth News, Feb/Mar2005 Issue 208, p156-160 Offer tips on gardening. Instructions for planting tomatoes from seeds; Protection of plants against pests; Information on a process which improves the germination of perennial plants. Reading Level (Lexile): 1130;

Amazing Plants! Scholastic News -- Edition 1, Apr2005, Vol. 61 Issue 7, p1-8 Focuses on the beneficial uses of plants. Housing for birds; Provision of nutrition for humans; Utilization of plants to make clothes; Medicinal aid being provided by plants. Reading Level (Lexile): 360;

Riding the Wave Is Simply Beautiful. USA Today Magazine, Jul2005, Vol. 134 Issue 2722, p77-77 Presents information on plant varieties offered by Ball Horticultural Co. Annuals and perennials included in the Simply Beautiful product line; Advantages of the Ride the Wave Petunias offering; Tips on planting petunia. Reading Level (Lexile): 1060;


Web Sites:

American Society for Horticultural Science
Includes Plant Facts which indexes over 59,000 pages of Extension publications from 46 different university and government institutions, an image gallery, an interactive plant glossary / identification tool and teaching resources., the Encyclopedia of Plants
Includes common names of plants, botanical names of plants, the dictionary of botanical words, temperature maps, pests and diseases and more.

Botany: The World Wide Web Virtual Library
A simple, comprehensive virtual library covering most disciplines relating to plants including breeding, plant ecology, natural history, agriculture and horticulture, plant pathology, etc.

Centres of Plant Diversity the Americas
Produced by the Smithsonian Institute, this source provides information on 75 sites dedicated to the conservation of plant diversity in the Americas.

Garden Web
The largest gardening site on the web, with garden forums, articles on gardening, directories of nurseries, gardens and gardening organizations.

Plants National Database
Contains listings of the plants known to occur as native or naturalized within the boundaries of the U.S., including its territories.

Plant Protection Research Unit
The Plant Protection Research Unit of the USDA consists of research programs emphasizing practical pest control methods that minimize or eliminate chemical pesticide usage while maintaining damage below economic threshold.

The Tree of life
A collaborative web project produced by biologists from around the world which, on more than 2600 web pages, provides information about diversity of organisms on earth, their history and characteristics.

Botanical Society of America
URL: Gives information on the field of Botany, as well as links to numerous plant images and stories covered in American Journal of Botany.

Infomine Scholarly Internet Resource Collections
A virtual library of Internet sources relevant to faculty, students, and research staff at the university level. [Select "Biological, Agricultural and Med Sciences" and search using the term botany or horticulture.]

Internet Public Library
Links to more than 25 sites. [Access by selecting Science and Technology, select Life Sciences, select Plant Biology (Botany)].


574.5 Insects and Plants: How They Trap Their Prey
This video examines how carnivorous plants attract insects to their traps. Students also learn about the survival strategies of spiders, grasshoppers, dragonflies and praying mantises.
Clearvue; 12 min.; Teacher’s Guide. (2000)
574.5 The Tropical Rain Forest: Utilization and Destruction
The largest rain forest on earth, the Amazon, is threatened by overdevelopment and overexploitation. What will the impact be worldwide? EBEC, 16 min.(2002)

574.52 Return to Earth: Life Cycle of The Forest
Behind the scenes look at decomposition—the process through which dead trees, leaves, and other organic materials are recycled. HR Media: 20 min.(2002)

576 Backyard Biodiversity
An examination of the hidden insects, microorganisms and big flowers that inhabit gardens and lawns in simple ecosystems. Bio Media Associates; 15min.

577.34 Rainforest Biomes.
Students learn about rainforests ,how their inhabitants live and the threats to their ecosystems. Cambridge; 20 min.; Teacher’s guide.(2002)

BOTANY: 580-581

582 All Things Plant
Demonstrates how all life is directly or indirectly dependent on plants for food and/or oxygen. Describes what happens during photosynthesis and reproduction and the six parts of a flowering plant. Barr Media Group. 19 min.; Teacher’s Guide.

581 How Plants Are Classified
Shows how classification enables scientists to learn how plants evolved, how they are designed, and how they thrive. Clearview/EAV; 19 min.; guide.

581 Plant Diversity
Explains the structure and function of plants and describes their places in the ecosystem. EBEC; 21 min.(2001)

581 The Private Life of Plants
A six part series narrated by David Attenborough. Explores the world of the plant kingdom through time-lapse photography in exotic worldwide locations. 50 min
Part I: Breaking Out: How Plant Seeds Travel.
Part II: Putting Down Roots: Survival Techniques.
Part III: The Birds and the Bees: Pollination.
Part IV: Plant Politics: Plants Exploit Disasters To Meet Their Species Needs
Part V: Living Together: Plant Partnership With Animals, Fungi, and Other
Part VI: It’s A Jungle Out There: Plants In Harsh Climates.(1995)

582.16 The Death of A Tree
As it dies, some parts are still alive and perform the role of living plants. In death the tree provides shelter for a number of animal species. Films For The Humanitites. 52 min.(1993)

583 Carnivorous Plants
Explains the prey-catching mechanisms of pitcher plants, bitterroots, sundews, Venus flytraps water wheel plants and bladderworts. Films For The Humanities
20 min.(1995)




Community Resources:

BBG's Online Library of Gardening Information
Brooklyn Botanic Garden has been publishing groundbreaking, authoritative gardening information since 1945. Below, organized by topic, is a large, comprehensive library of gardening articles and growing tips selected from recent editions of our award-winning horticultural newsletter, Plants & Gardens News, our widely revered 21st-Century Gardening Series handbooks, and our new Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Region Guides.
Address & phone
1000 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225-1008
(718) 623-7200

Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street, Flushing, New York 11355
(718) 886-3800
The Queens Botanical Garden serves over 300,000 visitors every year. It is one of the 33 cultural institutions of the city of New York, located on 39 acres of City-owned land at the northeast corner of Flushing Meadows- Corona Park. The Garden had its origin in the 1939 World’s Fair, and opened at its current location in 1963. The mission is to provide an oasis of beauty and calm for all to enjoy and to educate people about the importance of plants in the environment and in our everyday lives. Five teaching collections include bee, bird, and woodland gardens, an herb garden and a pinetum; features include a new Home Compost Demonstration Site, six backyard demonstration gardens, a Victorian wedding garden, an arboretum and seasonal displays of tulips, roses, annuals and chrysanthemums.

New York Botanical Garden
Bronx River Parkway at Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458
The New York Botanical Garden is a 250-acre estate including tree& shrub collections, specialized gardens and conservatory collections of tropical and subtropical plants. One of the oldest and largest botanical gardens in the world, The New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx is a museum of plants and a national Historic landmark.
Library: 257,000 vol. plus over one million non-book items on botanical art, photos, archives, seed and nursery catalog available to the public.
Guided tours; lectures; films; concerts; workshops, and courses.

Staten Island Botanical Garden
1000 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, New York 10301
(718) 273-8200
SIBG is a short ferry ride away from Manhattan. The Staten Island Botanical Garden is located within the grounds of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. This institution is a cultural assimilation of gardens which includes representations from particular periods, such as the New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden, as well as, contemporary styles.

A project of Friends of Pier 84 (FoP84)

A decentralized botanical garden concept was created in 1994 was to plant some flowers at the entrance of Pier 84 at the end of West 44th Street. A beautiful garden of 31 distinctive plantings was created that delighted both residents and tourists.The repair of the new pier began in November 2003 including the new prototype garden - the Concept Garden. In August 2000, the Aster novi-belgi was proclaimed the official flower of the Manhattan Botanical Garden by Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields.

Curriculum Standards Related to This Topic:

Standard Number: 4
Level: C
Subject: The Living Environment
Explain the importance of preserving diversity of species and habitats.
Explain how diversity of populations within ecosystems relates to the stability of ecosystems.
Explain how individual choices and societal actions can contribute to improving the environment.

*An asterisk next to material indicates that it is recommended in this subject area but not available in this CCD collection.