The study of wooden plants such as trees and shrubs
Dendrology is the study of wooden plants. It is a branch of botany concerned primarily on trees and shrubs. It is primarily focused on the characterization and identification of woody plants and their taxonomy.
A tree is a woody plant that reaches at least 5 metres high. It has a main stem (trunk) that bears several branches in the upper part while unbranched at the lower part.
A shrub is different from a tree in a way that it is branched at the lower part of its stem. Both the tree and the shrub have wooden tissues. They produce secondary xylem apart from the primary xylem. The secondary xylem is the type of xylem formed from secondary growth (lateral growth). The presence of secondary xylem indicates the presence of a vascular cambium, which gives rise to the secondary xylem in these plants. It is not present in non-woody plants. The cell walls are thickened by the deposition of lignin. This is essential especially in trees that grow vertically and need structural support. The secondary xylem is also the plant tissue responsible for the growth rings (annual rings) seen in trees that live for many seasons.
A specialist or expert in dendrology is called a dendrologist. One of the notable dendrologists is Mike Baillie, a dendrology expert known for his contribution in dating by means of tree-rings.
Word origin: Greek déndron (“tree”) + -logy