Byline: Michelle Rushton
What does a career in botany involve?
Botanists (sometimes known as plant biologists) study all forms of plant life both in the natural environment and in laboratories. They have different roles, as their work is used in a variety of areas, including conservation and protection of the environment, agriculture, forestry, horticulture, medicine and food science.
There is a number of specialisms in botany, including the study of specific plant groups, plant anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, ecology, marine botany and taxonomy (the identification and classification of plants).
Botanists' work can include identifying, classifying, recording and monitoring plant species, searching for new species, studying the effects of pollution on plant life, the effects of developments such as new buildings on plant life, presenting research results and scientific reports.
What personal skills do you need?
You need a keen interest in nature and the environment and a thorough knowledge of science, particularly biology and chemistry. You must be able to conduct detailed work accurately and methodically with the ability to plan research, analyse and interpret data, and write reports.
Problem solving, patience, perseverance and the ability to concentrate for long periods are also essential skills to have and you must be prepared to travel and work unsociable hours.
What training do you need?
For most positions as a botanist you will need a degree in a subject such as botany, plant biology, plant science, environmental science or ecology. …