Planttaxonomy in Early Buddhist Literature (Tipitaka)

Plant taxonomy in Early Buddhist Literature (Tipitaka)

Academic and Applied Botany in Mahajanapada Era or Buddhist Literature (1425 to 323 B.C.E) –7

 BOTANY History of Indian Subcontinent –53

By: Bhishma Kukreti M.Sc. {(Botany), B.Sc. (Honours in Botany), Medical Tourism Historian)-


There are classification of plants and animals in Panini and other classic Sanskrit literature. Same way there are plant classification in Buddhist Literature too (2).

According to ancient Indian reckoning, there are 7 types of all plants – (aushadhi (medicinal herbs), vanspati (forest type trees), vraksha (fruits and flower bearing tress), Gumba(Shrubs), Trina (grasses), patina(tendrils) and valli (vine )  (2) . By studying early Buddhist literature (Tipitaka) thoroughly, Dhammika states (2) that Buddha classified plants into –Aushadhi (medicinal herbs), tina (grasses and vanappataya (forest trees) (A, IV 100). Buddha considered that plants were born from one faculty (ekindriya).

Buddha distinguished plants by their propagation system as  by moola (root) , Khandha (stems ), phulla (joints) , agga (cutting), and bija (seeds) (D I 5) .




1-Dhammika, S. (2015), Nature and the environment in early Buddhism, Buddha Dhamma mandala Society, Singapore pages 7

2- Jataka with Cemetery, ed. V. Fauseboll PTS 1877 -97

3-Ap =Apadana edited Marry E. Litty  PTS Oxford 2000

3 A – M= Manjhima Nikaya editor V. Trenckner , R Chalmers London 1887-1902

4- Vin =Vinaya Paitaka , edi . H. Oldernberg PTS London 1879-83

5- Th =Theragata  edi. H. Oldenberg, Pischel 2nd edi , London  PTS London 1966

6- A= Anguttara  Nikaya , ed. R. Moris , E Hardy PTS London 1885 -90

7 Vv = Vimanavatthu , ed. N.a jayvikarama , PTS Oxford , 1977

8- Pv-a =Petavatthu Atthakattha ed E. hardy PTS London 1894

9  SN =Samyutta Nikaya ed. L. Feer PTs London 1884-1898

12- D = Dhiga Niakya – ed T W Rhys Davis ,PTS London 1890-1911

Copyright@ Bhishma Kukreti, bckukreti@gmail.com , Mumbai India, 2020

History of Botany from Pali/ Maghadi literature, Applied Botany in India in Buddhist literature, Plant Science in early Indian Buddhist Literature ;  Flora mentioned in Buddhist literature, Medical plants and Medicinal views in Buddhist Literature   will be continued

HISTORY of BOTANY in Indian Subcontinent will be continued in next chapter


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