flo·​ra | \ ˈflȯr-ə How to pronounce flora (audio) \
plural floras also florae\ ˈflȯr-​ˌē How to pronounce flora (audio) , -​ˌī \

Definition of flora

1 : a treatise on or list of the plants of an area or period
2 : plant, bacterial, or fungal life especially : such life characteristic of a region, period, or special environment fossil flora intestinal flora — compare fauna

Flora Has Roots in Roman Mythology

Flora means "flower" in Latin, and Flora was the Roman goddess of spring and flowering plants, especially wildflowers and plants not raised for food. She was shown as a beautiful young woman in a long, flowing dress with flowers in her hair, strewing flowers over the earth. English preserves her name in such words as floral, floret, and flourish. A region's flora may range from tiny violets to towering trees. The common phrase "flora and fauna" covers just about every visible living thing.

Examples of flora in a Sentence

an amazing variety of coastal flora the floras of different coastal regions
Recent Examples on the Web The plant-controlling super-scientist once yearned for a world reclaimed by the prehistoric flora. Darren Franich, EW.com, 11 Aug. 2022 The plant and design lovers on your list will go wild for this compilation of spaces with blooming flora in them, written by plant expert Hilton Carter. Angela Belt, House Beautiful, 5 Aug. 2022 Its rich volcanic soil creates a botanical wonderland bursting with diverse flora, and its mountainous terrain provides ample opportunities for commanding views. Leron Kornreich, Washington Post, 4 Aug. 2022 All the while, the company helps protect and sustain Greece’s unique flora and agriculture community and responsibly recycles product packaging. Pamela N. Danziger, Forbes, 2 Aug. 2022 Some plots are almost all bramble; others have a mix of canopy and ground flora and can take up to an hour and a half to document. Victoria Turk, Wired, 19 July 2022 Both strains work to help maintain the naturally present healthy vaginal flora in the body. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Cdn, Nasm-cpt, Good Housekeeping, 13 July 2022 Even though more than half the species listed under the federal Endangered Species Act are plants, in recent years flora have received less than 5 percent of total funding for endangered species recovery. Marion Renault, The New Republic, 7 July 2022 The gardens are home to more than 3,500 plant species and specialize in flora from Mediterranean climates and arid lands around the globe. Los Angeles Times, 30 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flora.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of flora

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for flora

borrowed from New Latin, from Latin Flōra, the goddess of flowers and the flowering season, thematicized derivative from the stem of flōr-, flōs "flower, bloom" — more at flower entry 1

Note: In the early modern period, the names of figures from ancient myth or history were featured in book titles as symbols of the subject matter—as Urania for a work on astronomy, Mithridates for a work on languages, and Atlas for a cartographical work. Along such lines the name of the Roman goddess of flowers was used in the title of Latin works dealing with the cultivation of plants, as Flora, seu de florum cultura libri quattuor (Rome, 1633) by the Jesuit scholar Giovanni Battista Ferrari (1584-1655). A book by the Danish physician and naturalist Simon Paulli (1603-80) entitled Flora Danica, Det er: Dansk urtebog ("Danish Flora, that is, a Danish herbal book") (Copenhagen, 1648) described the medicinal plants of Denmark. Here the name Flora is used as a sort of metonym for the plants of the country, a usage also taken up in a Latin poem introducing the work, in which Balthica Flora ("Baltic Flora") is described as bringing forth "swelling sprouts" (turgentia germina) from her bosom. Similar uses of Flora followed, as in the Flora Sinensis ("Chinese Flora") (Vienna, 1656) by the Polish Jesuit Michał Boym (ca. 1612-59). In the eighteenth century flora began to be used generically outside of book titles as a collective name for the plants of a region or habitat. For details. and examples of Flora used metonymically in seventeenth-century Latin prose, see Dominik Beerens, "The Meaning of Flora," Humanistica Lovaniensia, vol. 68, no. 1 (Spring, 2019), pp. 237-49.

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Last Updated

14 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flora. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for flora


flo·​ra | \ ˈflȯr-ə How to pronounce flora (audio) \

Kids Definition of flora

: the plant life typical of a region, period, or special environment


flo·​ra | \ ˈflōr-ə, ˈflȯr- How to pronounce flora (audio) \
plural floras also florae\ ˈflō(ə)r-​ˌē How to pronounce flora (audio) , ˈflȯ(ə)r-​ How to pronounce flora (audio) , -​ˌī \

Medical Definition of flora

1 : plant life especially : the plants characteristic of a region, period, or special environment fossil flora — compare fauna
2 : the microorganisms (as bacteria or fungi) living in or on the body the beneficial flora of the intestine potentially harmful skin flora

Other Words from flora

floral \ ˈflōr-​əl, ˈflȯr-​ How to pronounce flora (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on flora

Nglish: Translation of flora for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flora for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about flora


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