From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sunflower (Helianthus annuus), a large forb.

A forb or phorb is an herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid (grass, sedge, or rush). The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands[1] and understory.[2] Typically these are dicots without woody stems.


The word "forb" is derived from Greek phorbḗ (φορβή), meaning "pasture" or "fodder".[3][4] The Hellenic spelling "phorb" is sometimes used, and in older usage this sometimes includes graminids and other plants currently not regarded as forbs.


Forbs are members of a guild—a group of plant species with broadly similar growth form.[5] In certain contexts in ecology, guild membership may often be more important than the taxonomic relationships between organisms.

In informal classification[edit]

In addition to its use in ecology, the term "forb" may be used for subdividing popular guides to wildflowers,[6] distinguishing them from other categories such as grasses, sedges, shrubs, and trees.[7] Some examples of forbs are clovers, sunflowers, daylilies, and milkweed.


Linnaean taxonomy family names are given.[8] Acanthaceae, Aizoaceae, Amaranthaceae, Apiaceae, Apocynaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Asteraceae, Balsaminaceae, Begoniaceae, Boraginaceae, Brassicaceae, Buxaceae, Campanulaceae, Cannabaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Clusiaceae, Convolvulaceae, Crassulaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Cuscutaceae, Dipsacaceae, Ericaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Fabaceae, Gentianaceae, Geraniaceae, Gunneraceae, Haloragaceae, Hydrophyllaceae, Lamiaceae, Lentibulariaceae, Limnanthaceae, Linaceae, Lythraceae, Malvaceae, Moraceae, Nyctaginaceae, Onagraceae, Orobanchaceae, Oxalidaceae, Papaveraceae, Phytolaccaceae, Plantaginaceae, Plumbaginaceae, Polemoniaceae, Polygonaceae, Portulacaceae, Primulaceae, Ranunculaceae, Resedaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Solanaceae, Thymelaeaceae, Urticaceae, Valerianaceae, Verbenaceae, Violaceae, Zygophyllaceae

See also[edit]

  • Dicotyledon – Historical grouping of flowering plants
  • Herbaceous plant – Plant which has no persistent woody stem above ground
  • Overgrazing – When plants are grazed for extended periods without sufficient recovery time


  1. ^ Schröder, Hans (2009). Grasslands: Ecology, Management and Restoration. Commack, N.Y: Nova Science Publishers. ISBN 978-1-60692-024-4.
  2. ^ "Native Understory Forbs and Grasses".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Jaeger, Edmund C. (1959). A source-book of biological names and terms. Springfield, Ill: Thomas. ISBN 0-398-06179-3.
  4. ^ Scott, Robert Pickett; Henry, George (2007). Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, Abridged: Original Edition, republished in larger and clearer typeface. Simon Wallenburg Press. ISBN 978-1-84356-026-5.
  5. ^ Roxburgh, Stephen. A Demonstration of Guild Based Assembly Rules for a Plant Community and Determination of Intrinsic Guilds.
  6. ^ "Wildflower seeds and forbs". Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  7. ^ "Describe the major differences between the plant families used as forages". Forage Information System. 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  8. ^ "Invasive Plant Atlas". Retrieved 25 Sep 2021.

External links[edit]