Botany

Botany
Image from Steve Bowers

Botany is the study of Terragen or Terragen-derived plant life, or of xenobiota analogous to plants. Terragen plants are members of the taxon Plantae, and almost all members of this clade are immobile multicellular heterotrophic organisms which use photosynthesis to produce energy. Xenobiota that conform to this definition are often commonly called 'plants', although the strict taxonomic classification of xenobotanical species is often quite complex.

Botany embraces a diversity of topics, including ecology, evolution, genetics, life cycles, morphology, physiology, and taxonomy. For the most part botany deals with naturally evolved species or with descendants of these species modified through gengineering, although Applied Botany and Neogenics may deal with completely artificial organisms.

 
Articles
  • Algae - Text by Stephen Inniss, after the original by M. Alan Kazlev
    In the strictest sense, any of several otherwise unrelated Terragen organisms that are capable of photosynthesis but have a simpler organization than plants. Unlike plants they do not develop from embryos and do not produce complex organs. They may be single-celled or multicellular, and they are typically aquatic to semi-aquatic although a few live in moist terrestrial environments. Similar xenobiological organisms may also be called algae, and so may simple solar-powered and neumann-capable nanotech bots (see nanoalgae).
  • Algal Mat - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Generic term for growth of simple Terragen or xenobiotic unicellular plants that form a thick scum on the surface of moist rocks, sand, tidal pools, and other such environments. On many Garden Worlds with simple ecosystems algal mats are the highest form of plant life.
  • AmatFruit  - Text by John B
    The rarest and most power and resource hungry of the astragens, this life-form (of which there are only 3 known surviving genomes of a historical max of seven) was seeded in close orbit to many 'green' stars.
  • Angiosperm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    In Terragen biology, a flowering plant in which the seeds are enclosed within an ovary which ripens into a fruit. Angiosperms are still the dominant type of terragen plant, with an estimated 250,000 baseline species, and literally hundreds of millions of neogen species. Their flowers are used in reproduction. Angiosperms evolved 125 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period.
  • Autotroph - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    An organism that produces its own food from light or chemical energy and/or inorganic matter. Also called a Producer (or Primary Producer). Among terragen life forms, most green plants, many protists, and many prokaryotes are autotrophs. There are also alife and informational autotrophs/producers. Every food chain rests on autotrophs. Autotrophs in turn provide food for heterotrophs.
  • Bamboo - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Large fast-growing terragen monocot grass, much valued (especially on Negentropist worlds) for its aesthetic appearance, and as a source of art products such as calligraphy paper.
  • Barbwire-Bush  - Text by David Hallberg
    The Barb-wire Bush is a genetic construct designed for use in low-tech entrenched fortifications, such as those on the Western Front in the First World War of Old Earth, or in any number of prim to low-tech conflicts in the millennia since. It may also be used in civil settings as a low-cost privacy and security measure.
  • Bennettitale - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Formerly extinct terragen gymnosperms that superficially resemble cycads, but reproduce more like flowering pants. They range in size from shrubs to small trees. Bennettitaleans lived throughout the Mesozoic Era. A popular plant for lazurogenic gardens. The fruits of many species are edible.
  • Biennial - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any organism or replicator that takes two local years to complete the full life cycle.
  • Bombard Fruit  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    A citrus-derived fruit that is seedless and lacks a peel.
  • Canopy - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The leaves and upper branches of rainforest trees, forming an upper "story", which in baseline Cenozoic terragen rainforests are usually around 20 to 40 meters up. This leafy environment is full of life in a tropical rainforest and includes insects, birds, reptiles, mammals, and other forms of life. Some eco-clades have adapted an entire culture, technology, and society to life in orbital canopy environments. There are also equivalent tweak, exotic chemistry, and virtual/alife "canopies" which serve the same ecological purpose, although they may differ markedly in structure and detail.
  • Canopy Plant  - Text by Terrafamilia
    Canopy Plants are neogen plants used in terraforming, paraterraforming, or habitat creation.
  • Deathjungle of Kalii  - Text by Thorbjørn Steen
    An extremely hostile xenobiological sensestem, an environmental mind contained within a naturally evolved jungle ecosystem
  • Deciduous - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    The property of losing some body parts (such as leaves, in the case of plants, or horns or antlers in the case of some Terragen ungulates) at the end of a season or when conditions change such that they are a liability. The deciduous habit has evolved independently on a number of natural biospheres and among many different phyla and kingdoms of organisms, indicating it is an adaptive evolutionary attractor.
  • Deliplants  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Deliplants are splice or neogen plants designed to provide equivalents to the animal products once consumed by human baselines on Old Earth: not only meat, but also other products such as eggs, milk, blood or cheese.
  • Dendrosequoia sapiens - Text by Steve Bowers
    150 meter high sophont trees with biocomputronium cores; developed in the Biopolity and have spread to many worlds. Revered as spiritual leaders in some parts of the Sophic League.
  • Devil's Rose  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Carnivorous xenobiotic plant.
  • Dura Grass - Text by James Ramsey
    Neogen plant developed as a floor covering. Dura Grass is a mossy grass-like plant that is designed to create a soft spongy surface for walking. It grows to a set height of 1-3 centimetres depending on the species of dura grass. It is highly resistant to low light conditions and thrives easily with minimal tending. Dura grass is also a common replacement for grass in parks and other open areas. It will only grow on a special fabricate like covering preventing it from spreading into local ecologies. It is crush proof and grows quickly, repairing most damage overnight. Absorbs dust and various pollutants aiding most life support systems. It can also be found covering roads and nature trails on many worlds and habitats that allow ground based transportation.
  • Emergents (biology) - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Giant trees (or ecological equivalents, whether biological, alife, or nanecological ) that are much higher than the average canopy height, or vaster than the average size. Terragen emergents provide habitats for many birds and insects in dry environments. On worlds like Gilboa Reach, Linne, and Trees, giant trees are home to entire ecosystems. On Okeanos, gengineered tube worm turret-reefs fulfill the same role in a marine environment.
  • Epiphyte - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A plant (or sometimes other organism) that lives attached to a larger plant or a structure like a tower or a building. Epiphytes acquire water and nutrients from the air.
  • Ethnobotany - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Study of how plants are used in various (mostly prim, neo-prim, or bioborg) hu, tweak, splice, provolve, and xenosophont cultures.
  • Evapotranspiration - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The process in which water evaporates from trees and analogous bionts and neobionts, and returns to the local atmosphere.
  • Fern  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Terragen non-flowering spore-bearing plant with fronds divided into leaflets in a distinctive and easily recognizable fractal pattern. Having to reproduce by means of spores, ferns prefer moist environments.
  • Forest - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    Any biome type involving a dense concentration of trees or analogous neogens or xenophyta, distributed over a large area of land. In some biomes, such as rainforest, there are a number of distinct levels, such as canopy and forest floor, each with their distinct micro-ecologies.
  • Forest Floor - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The lowest layer of a rainforest, extending from the ground to about a meter in height. This layer is teeming with animal life, including insects, mammals, and ground birds.
  • Ginkgo  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    An Old Earth gymnosperm tree that arose during the Permian and was common during the Mesozoic Era, with worldwide distribution. A large number of extinct species have been lazurogened, all with the distinctive fan-shaped leaves seen in fossil remains. A popular and hardy plant. Some provolve species are known.
  • Grabgrass  - Text by Todd Drashner, Ryan B, and Mark Ryherd
    Carnivorous plant-form native to most of the temperate and sub-tropical regions of Ridgewell.
  • Gymnosperm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    Terragen seed-bearing plants in which the seeds develop without a protective covering derived from the ovaries. In short, any seed-bearing plant that is not an angiosperm. They release pollen into the air to the female ovule, causing fertilization. Gymnosperms include seed ferns, conifers, ginkgoes, and cycads. Conifers were the only common gymnosperms by the time humanity arose on Old Earth, but many other kinds of gymnosperm have since been lazurogened.
  • Keruing, Clade  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Provolved plant clade based on seeds. In their baseline form members of this clade give rise to a tree at the end of their lives.
  • LifeFruit - Text by John B
    Generates ATP (adenosine triphosphate, a basic biologic energy storage molecule), but is one of the more power-hungry forms of astragen. LifeFruit typically requires earth-type solar energy levels.
  • Lycopod  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Any of a group of Terragen plants belonging to the division Lyopodiophyta, including the clubmosses (which superficially resemble true mosses) and quillworts. Prior to lazurogenic efforts they were small but widespread herbaceous plants. Many large tree-like forms based on those of the Carboniferous are known in the present day.
  • Marijuana  - Text by KLS
    A herbaceous plant from Old Earth in the genus Cannabis, known as a source of psychoactive chemicals. Although once widely considered a very harmful drug, and outlawed, marijuana was eventually made more legal than tobacco in many polities, though later such laws became either irrelevant or unenforceable due to the rise of DNI mediated drugware and easy 'natural' drug production at home.
  • Mechmoss and Nanoalgae  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Simple sessile photosynthetic nanotech or synano neumann-capable devices/organisms.
  • OxyFruit  - Text by John B
    Astragen capable of producing pressurized 'pods' (also the seed) of O2 when in contact with oxygen bearing materials and a specific wavelength and intensity of light.
  • Phototropic Seeds  - Text by John Edds
    Plant seeds which orient themselves with respect to a light source rather than gravity.
  • Phytoplankton  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Autotrophic planktonic organisms that are the primary producers within their ecology, usually via photosynthesis. Most often they are of microscopic size.
  • Plankton  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss
    Organisms that live in in the water column or in a suitable atmosphere and drift or float in that environment, being incapable of swimming against the current or wind. Most garden worlds have planktonic organisms. Where larger or more actively moving organisms are present they depend on plankton for food. Analogues to biological plankton are found in some nanecologies and mechosystems.
  • Plant  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    A major group of related Old Earth organisms that are multicellular, eukaryotic, exhibit embryonic development and capable of photosynthesis.
  • Radial Symmetry  - Text by Stephen Inniss
    Symmetry around a central axis; organisms with radial symmetry have a dorsal and ventral surface but are roughly similar on every side, though they may show fourfold, fivefold, sixfold, or eightfold symmetry.
  • Shockroot  - Text by Todd Drashner
    Ground hugging, ivy-like plantimal that uses electric shock to defend against predators.
  • Skywrack  - Text by Steve Bowers
    Giant plants from the planet Trees up to a kilometre in height.
  • Tobacco  - Text by Anders Sandberg
    The prepared leaves of the Old Earth tobacco plant Nicotiniana tabacam, used by Terragen mammals as a drug. The active substance is nicotine, a cholinergic agonist with mild mood and cognition enhancing effects and strong addiction potential. The drug is commonly smoked or chewed.
  • Xanthric Flowerweed  - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, from original entry by Kevin Self
    A sessile neogen; a carnivorous plant that has recently (since 9800s) become established in a few newly-terraformed worlds in the Udryck Sector (Outer Volumes), where it seems to have hitched a ride on local subrelativistic bioships.
  • Yggdrasil Bush, Yggy  - Text by Todd Drashner and Steve Bowers
    Variant species of the orwood biological space habitat.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev and Stephen Inniss

Initially published on 08 October 2001.