Acquaintance of students with basic knowledge of plant biology: morphology, anatomy and basic function (cellular and subcellular) of plants. Main principles of plant classification. Understanding and use of scientific names. Distinction of the natural groups of medicinal plants (plants with biologically active agents), based on their morphological and chemical diagnostic features.
Use of the light microscope for observing and identifying plant cells, tissues and organs. Acquisition of skills in hand-preparing microscopic slides of plant material and interpretation of the observed image. Use of stereoscope for observation of macroscopic features that distinguish the major families of medicinal plants. Collection, taxonomic identification and preservation of plant specimens.
Course Content (Syllabus)
Part Α: Introduction to Plant Biology. Origin, evolution and chemical composition of plants and the uses of plants by people (nutrition, energy, medicine). The typical plant cell. Subcellular organelles and structures with emphasis on cell wall, vacuoles and plastids. The plant tissues: meristems, epidermis, periderm, parenchyma, supporting, vascular tissues and special emphasis on secretory tissues. Organization of the plant body. The stem: morphology, primary and secondary structure, modifications. The leaf: morphology, structure, growth and modifications. The root: morphology, primary and secondary structure, modifications. The flower: morphology, development, structure, pollination and fertilization. The fruit: types, development, structure. The seed: morphology, structure, formation of the embryo and endosperm, seed dispersal and germination.
Part Β: Historical overview of the use of medicinal plants in relation to their classification. Basic principles of scientific nomenclature and classification of plants. The "box-within-a box 'method of classification. The species as a basic taxonomic unit. The distinction of plants into Divisions. The three Subdivions of Spermatophyta. The classes and subclasses of Magnoliophytina (Angiosperms). Diagnostic morphological features of the main families of medicinal plants. Representative species of medicinal plants, their biologically active ingredients and pharmaceutical uses.