Flora

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Plant species diversity
Simplified schematic of an island's flora - all its plant species, highlighted in boxes.

Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenousnative plant life. The corresponding term for animal life is fauna. Flora, fauna and other forms of life such as fungi are collectively referred to as biota. Bacterial organisms, algae, and other organisms are sometimes referred to as flora,[1][2][3] so that for example the terms bacterial flora and plant flora are used separately.

Etymology[edit]

"Flora" comes from the Latin name of Flora, the goddess of plants, flowers, and fertility in Roman mythology.

Flora classifications[edit]

Plants are grouped into floras based on region, period, special environment, or climate. Regions can be geographically distinct habitats like mountain vs. flatland. Floras can mean plant life of a historic era as in fossil flora. Lastly, floras may be subdivided by special environments:

  • Native flora. The native and indigenous flora of an area.
  • Agricultural and Horticultural flora (garden flora). The plants that are deliberately grown by humans.
  • Weed flora. Traditionally this classification was applied to plants regarded as undesirable, and studied in efforts to control or eradicate them. Today the designation is less often used as a classification of plant life, since it includes three different types of plants: weedy species, invasive species (that may or may not be weedy), and native and introduced non-weedy species that are agriculturally undesirable. Many native plants previously considered weeds have been shown to be beneficial or even necessary to various ecosystems.

Flora treatises[edit]

Floristic regions in Europe according to Wolfgang Frey and Rainer Lösch
Plants
A fossil leaf from the extinct Comptonia columbiana, 48.5 million years old. Klondike Mountain Formation, Republic, Ferry County, Washington, USA. Stonerose Interpretive Center.

A flora treatise (usually simply known as a Flora), requires specialist botanical knowledge to use with any effectiveness. Traditionally flora treatises are books, but some are now published on CD-ROM or websites.

It is said that the Flora Sinensis by the Polish Jesuit Michał Boym was the first book that used the name "Flora" in this meaning, a book covering the plant world of a region.[4] However, despite its title it covered not only plants, but also some animals of the region.

A flora often contains diagnostic keys. Often these are dichotomous keys, which require the user to repeatedly examine a plant, and decide which one of two alternatives given in the flora best applies to the plant.

A compendium of world floras has been compiled by David Frodin.[5]

Classic floras[edit]

Europe
India
Indonesia
Iran
Pakistan
China
America

Modern floras[edit]

Americas[edit]

Caribbean
  • Britton, N. L., and Percy Wilson. Scientific Survey of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands — Volume V, Part 1: Botany of Porto Rico and the Virgin Islands: Pandanales to Thymeleales. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1924.
Central & South America
North America

Asia[edit]

Taxus chinensis (Chinese Yew), Morton Arboretum
East Asia
Southeast Asia
Indian region and Sri Lanka
  • Flora of Bhutan
  • Flora of the Presidency of Madras by J.S. Gamble (1915–36)
  • Flora of Nepal
  • Bengal Plants by D. Prain (1903)
  • Flora of the upper Gangetic plains by J. F. Duthie (1903–29)
  • Botany of Bihar and Orissa by H.H. Haines (1921–25)
  • Flora of British India (1872–1897) by Sir J.D. Hooker
Middle East and western Asia

Australasia[edit]

A closing venus fly trap.
  • Flora of Australia
  • Flora of New Zealand series:
    • Allan, H.H. 1961, reprinted 1982. Flora of New Zealand. Volume I: Indigenous Tracheophyta - Psilopsida, Lycopsida, Filicopsida, Gymnospermae, Dicotyledons. ISBN 0-477-01056-3.
    • Moore, L.B.; Edgar, E. 1970, reprinted 1976. Flora of New Zealand. Volume II: Indigenous Tracheophyta - Monocotyledons except Graminae. ISBN 0-477-01889-0.
    • Healy, A.J.; Edgar, E. 1980. Flora of New Zealand Volume III. Adventive Cyperaceous, Petalous & Spathaceous Monocotyledons. ISBN 0-477-01041-5.
    • Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.;Garnock-Jones, P.J. 1988. Flora of New Zealand Volume IV: Naturalised Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, Dicotyledons. ISBN 0-477-02529-3.
    • Edgar, E.; Connor, H.E. 2000. Flora of New Zealand Volume V: Grasses. ISBN 0-478-09331-4.
    • Volumes I-V: First electronic edition, Landcare Research, June 2004. Transcribed by A.D. Wilton and I.M.L. Andres.
    • Breitwieser I., Brownsey P., Ford K., Glenny D., Heenan P., Wilton A. eds. (2010-2011) Flora of New Zealand. Online Edition. [1].
  • Galloway, D.J. 1985. Flora of New Zealand: Lichens. ISBN 0-477-01266-3.
  • Croasdale, H.; Flint, E.A. 1986. Flora of New Zealand: Desmids. Volume I. ISBN 0-477-02530-7.
  • Croasdale, H.; Flint, E.A. 1988. Flora of New Zealand: Desmids. Volume II. ISBN 0-477-01353-8.
  • Croasdale, H.; Flint, E.A.;Racine, M.M. 1994. Flora of New Zealand: Desmids. Volume III. ISBN 0-477-01642-1.
  • Sykes, W.R.; West, C.J.; Beever, J.E.; Fife, A.J. 2000. Kermadec Islands Flora - Special Edition. ISBN 0-478-09339-X.

Pacific Islands[edit]

  • Flora Vitiensis Nova, a New Flora of Fiji
  • Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i, Warren L. Wagner and Derral R. Herbst (1991) + suppl. [2]
  • Flore de la Nouvelle-Calédonie
  • Flore de la Polynésie Française (J. Florence, vol. 1 & 2, 1997 & 2004)

Europe[edit]

Blueberry plant with berries
British Isles

Africa and Madagascar[edit]

An Aloe vera plant

Flora on Wikipedia[edit]

Wikipedia has the following mainly flora categories:

BlankMap-World5.svg

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ "Merriam Webster Online Dictionary". 
  2. ^ Clifford E. Starliper, Rita Villella, Patricia Morrison, and Jay Mathais. "Sampling the bacterial flora of freshwater mussels". 
  3. ^ John, D.M.; Whitton, B.A.; Brook, A.J. (2002). The Freshwater Algal Flora of the British Isles: An Identification Guide to Freshwater and Terrestrial Algae. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521770514. 
  4. ^ a b Flora Sinensis (access to the facsimile of the book, its French translation, and an article about it)
  5. ^ Frodin, David G. 2001. Guide to Standard Floras of the World. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-79077-2.

External links[edit]