A large number of plant lovers produced valuable literature.
Then came the era of tissue culture. Botanists shifted to this easy discipline with great promise and it was easier to spend time in AC rooms in company of well dressed army of research scholars and technicians. Gradually the heat of outside in tropical labs was replaced by cool of plant tissue culture and it had promise to achieve all under one roof.
The quest for understanding physiology of plants at cellular level, molecular level and then plant genetic engineering level gradually lead to losing understanding about plants.
In developing countries where science is governed and controlled a complex regulations of beuracracy and scientists a sudden boom for the molecular biology, plant tissue culture and biotechnology lead to total drain of funds from the basic botany. A scientist had quick publication more impact factor to his credit and greater authority in any of the developing countries and also in developed country as compared to a botanist who studied about the plants.
This folly of governments lead to fossilization of botanists and science of botany.
Almost all the botanists jumped in the bandwagon of molecular biology and biotechnology and plants were a neglected lot. People now dont know the names of plants about their basic physiology but they can do gene transfer which nature has been doing since ever.
Now sitting in balcony, the only plant I can identify is Pinus and some oaks but I dont know the names of all other plants which I should have known as a botanist. Because I am also a botanist of transition time though I can tell you more about their molecular biology and gene technology I dont know their names
Where botanists have gone.