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Subdisciplines of botany in context of Interface Design

March 11th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

In my previous post I presented a text collage about the basics of botany. In this blog post I created again a text collage about the subdisciplines of botany for Interface Designer. In my opinion there only four really interesting subdisciplines: Plant perception, plant defense against herbivory, Ethnobotany, and Horticulture. Each subdiscipline has a short description (text collage from wikipedia) what it does and a comment of mine. In the comment I give an argument why I think this topic is important for a deeper research. So here it goes:

Plant perception (Physiology)

Plant perception is the ability of plants to sense the environment and adjust their morphology, physiology and phenotype accordingly. Examples of stimuli which plants perceive and can react to include chemicals, gravity, light, moisture, infections, temperature, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations, parasite infestation, physical disruption, and touch. Plant perception occurs on a cellular level.

Very interesting topic for defining and creating input channels. Understanding the mechanics of the system plants

Plant defense against herbivory

Plant defense against herbivory or host-plant resistance (HPR) describes a range of adaptations evolved by plants which improve their survival and reproduction by reducing the impact of herbivores. Plants can sense being touched, and they can use several strategies to defend against damage caused by herbivores.

Very interesting topic for defining and creating input channels. Furthermore, it also presents a range of plants which can react fast on stimuli from outside. Another point is the output channel. Plants will change their experience because of certain stimuli. The new experience can maybe useful for visualization approaches.


Ethnobotanists aim to document, describe and explain complex relationships between cultures and (uses of) plants, focusing primarily on how plants are used, managed and perceived across human societies. This includes use for food, clothing, currency, ritual, medicine, dye, construction, cosmetics and more.

Ethnobotany describes the cultural context of plants. Like in the theory of colours, the signification of a plant differs depending on cultural regions. I have to consider it, especially if plants are used for visualization approaches (output channel). Additionally, this discipline describes how human use plants as a tool. This might be a great resource to figure out how plants could be used with our current (electronic-based) technology.


Horticulture is the science, technology, and business involved in intensive plant cultivation for human use. It is practiced from the individual level in a garden up to the activities of a multinational corporation. It is very diverse in its activities, incorporating plants for food (fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, culinary herbs) and non-food crops (flowers, trees and shrubs, turf-grass, hops, medicinal herbs). It also includes related services in plant conservation, landscape restoration, landscape and garden design/construction/maintenance, horticultural therapy, and much more. This range of food, medicinal, environmental, and social products and services are all fundamental to developing and maintaining human health and well-being.

Horticulture might be the biggest research resource of my thesis. It describes how plants were changed by humans. A very important aspect for designing the input channels of a plant (type of channels and their calibration). This topic is not one way topic; it also reveals the impacts plants have on the human kind. It seems Horticulture explores the eco system (the mechanics) of Human-Plant relationships.

In the future I will research each discipline in more detail. Hopefully, I will find some interesting things for Interface Designers.

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