Plant Taxonomist

Organize plants according to species.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $102,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Plant Taxonomists do?

“A weed is merely a plant whose virtues have not been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emerson not only had the skills of a Writer, but also the mindset of a Taxonomist. He understood that what is on the outside doesn’t always match what’s inside. And, as a Plant Taxonomist, you do too.

Plant Taxonomists must have a natural curiosity about plants that drives them to study their genetic makeup. So you spend your days as a Plant Taxonomist in the lab breaking apart strands of DNA under the microscope. What you find is the basis for an entire field of science—how plant characteristics are similar or different, and how you can classify them into kingdom, phylum, class, order family, genus, and species.

When a new plant is discovered, you eagerly work to classify it. This is exciting because you not only learn about that particular plant, but you also connect it to distant and not-so-distant relatives.

With advances in modern science, you can now tell whether a plant has a history of a hundred years, or if it was being trampled by the dinosaurs. This same science allows you to review what is already recorded about individual plants, and improve on that database.

This knowledge is important for humans who consume plants and turn them into medicines. Consider the hundreds of varieties of mushrooms. They may all look the same, but without a detailed study, it is difficult to tell those that can grace the dinner table from those that cause hallucinations, illness, or death.

Should I be a Plant Taxonomist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Outside the Box Thinker: Your creative brainpower gets a workout as you come up with innovative ideas.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • How to become a Plant Taxonomist

    We recommend at least a Doctoral degree. Start by getting your Bachelor's. Check out these schools offering Plant Taxonomist-related education!
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