Flora

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For other uses, see Flora (disambiguation).
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.

Documentation of floras[edit]

Main article: Flora (publication)
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.

The flora of a particular area or time period can be documented in a publication also known as a "flora" (often capitalized as "Flora" to distinguish the two meanings when they might be confused). Floras may require specialist botanical knowledge to use with any effectiveness. Traditionally they 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 published 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 best applies to the 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. ^ Flora Sinensis (access to the facsimile of the book, its French translation, and an article about it)

External links[edit]