Biology is the natural science that involves the study of life and living organisms, including their physical structure, chemical composition, function, development and evolution. Modern biology is a vast field, composed of many branches. Despite the broad scope and the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the creation of new species. Living organisms are open systems that survive by transforming energy and decreasing their local entropy to maintain a stable and vital condition defined as homeostasis. See glossary of biology.
Plants are mainly multicellular, predominantly photosynthetic eukaryotes of the kingdom Plantae. They form the clade Viridiplantae (Latin for "green plants") that includes the flowering plants, conifers and other gymnosperms, ferns, clubmosses, hornworts, liverworts, mosses and the green algae, and excludes the red and brown algae. Historically, plants were treated as one of two kingdoms including all living things that were not animals, and all algae and fungi were treated as plants. However, all current definitions of Plantae exclude the fungi and some algae, as well as the prokaryotes (the archaea and bacteria).