I've been trying to find one single word that covers knowledge concerning both the properties and cultivation of plants, but have come short with some words.

Here are some of the words I thought of, but eventually found lacking:

Botany: I feel this implies purely scientific research on plants, ignoring the cultivation of plants and things like crop rotations and irrigation techniques.

Agriculture: I think this word only covers food crops and plants commonly grown for decoration. I feel it misses out on the more thorough knowledge of all (not just commonly cultivated) plants, including currently unknown ones.

Ultimately, I'm looking for a word that encompasses the subjects of both Botany and Agriculture, but have come short for now.

  • 8
    Would horticulture fit your needs? - The science or art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants.
    – user66974
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:17
  • 2
    Well, unless you're a muggle, there's "herbology." Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 16:44

4 Answers 4


Looking into this, I just learned a new word:


Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fibre, and land reclamation. Agronomy encompasses work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. Agronomy is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. Agronomists today are involved with many issues including producing food, creating healthier food, managing environmental impact of agriculture, and extracting energy from plants. Agronomists often specialize in areas such as crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, plant physiology, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and insect and pest control.

(Emphasis mine)



Horticulture is the branch of agriculture that deals with the art, science, technology, and business of plant cultivation. It includes the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds and non-food crops such as grass and ornamental trees and plants. It also includes plant conservation, landscape restoration, landscape and garden design, construction, and maintenance, and arboriculture.

Horticulturists apply their knowledge, skills, and technologies used to grow intensively produced plants for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs. Their work involves plant propagation and cultivation with the aim of improving plant growth, yields, quality, nutritional value, and resistance to insects, diseases, and environmental stresses. They work as gardeners, growers, therapists, designers, and technical advisors in the food and non-food sectors of horticulture.

  • 1
    I've seen Horticulture pass by during my search, but I feel it generally hovered towards the same problems Agriculture has. On the other hand, giving the Wikipedia page a read (more specifically the Scope chapter) has given me a slightly different opinion. Regardless, I'll keep the question open for about another day to see if there are any other words people can find.
    – D-zap
    Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 20:24
  • 2
    +1. I believe horticulture is the word that you want. I don't find it directed towards food.
    – justhalf
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 4:00
  • I accepted Agronomy because it fit most into the context I was going to use it in. Regardless of context, many others will find this answer more useful instead. +1
    – D-zap
    Commented Mar 20, 2015 at 7:14

Granted, it's not a single word, but plant sciences would seem to encompass both areas. That's a department name in US universities, for example.

  • Domestic science certainly qualifies as a single lexeme. Commented Mar 18, 2015 at 22:51

The term that you are looking for is agricultural botany. It is the discipline that combines botany and agriculture. It is not a single word but it is sometimes shortened as agri-botany.

The final "new" branch of Botany is which we must briefly mention, at least so that its historical links can be seen, is agricultural botany. Here, after nearly 200 years, we find the University accepting and catering for a scientific approach to crop cultivation for which the first professor of Botany, Richard Bradley, had hoped in vain.

The Shaping of Cambridge Botany By Stuart Max Walters, John Stevens Henslow

There is even a National Institute of Agricultural Botany in Cambridge, UK. There is also an agricultural botany department in several universities including University of Reading, University of Zagreb and Czech University of Life Sciences.

Horticulture covers some scientific approaches to plant cultivation but it doesn't cover all the scientific studies of botany. In other words, it doesn't cover botany; hence there is a field called horticultural botany. It is defined in Wikipedia as the study of the botany of current and potential cultivated plants, with emphasis on the ornamental plants of horticulture, by a horticultural botanist or plantsman—plantsperson.

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