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What is the Basis of Classification?


Through the ages, scientists have tried various ways of grouping and classifying plants and animals but this was not easy because the number and forms were so varied and diverse.

Various methods were tried by different scientists over the years to classify living organisms and the ones that were finally accepted were those in which most organisms could find a place within the classification. Let us see how this was done in the plant kingdom.

In the early days, plants were classified according to whether they were useful, medicinal or crop plants. Later they were classified into herbs, shrubs and trees according to their life span.


Since this was not satisfactory, botanists began to classify plants into groups where plants with as many common characteristics as possible were put into one group. Soon a natural pattern began to emerge, although there were plants that still did not fit in completely into a particular group. As scientific investigations are in continuous progress, scientists may come up with more information that might sort this out.

Our system of classification today is certainly more organised and scientific than it was earlier. There are many natural systems of classifications, which have been accepted in recent times but the one most commonly used in India is that of Bentham and Hooker.

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