flo·​ra ˈflȯr-ə How to pronounce flora (audio)
plural floras also florae ˈflȯr-ˌē How to pronounce flora (audio)
: a treatise on or list of the plants of an area or period
: plant, bacterial, or fungal life
especially : such life characteristic of a region, period, or special environment
fossil flora
intestinal flora
compare fauna

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

an amazing variety of coastal flora the floras of different coastal regions
Recent Examples on the Web The lush flora surrounding the area allows for plenty of green despite the lack of grass. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, 1 Feb. 2023 Improves moods and emotions: Imbalanced gut flora can affect your emotions and moods. Dallas News, 24 Jan. 2023 Lush flora fills the space at Botanica Home and Garden, a unique shop and garden center in Ocean Beach. Roxana Becerril, San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Jan. 2023 Alanna Hale Let curiosity bloom by creating a bedroom with natural textures and flora-print textiles, like this classic 1970s house. Kate Mcgregor, ELLE Decor, 20 Jan. 2023 Recent upgrades include building a multiuse path around the campus, removing invasive species and replanting native flora, improving the trail around the lake, creating the native pollinator meadow and installing a Pacers Bikeshare station. The Indianapolis Star, 11 Jan. 2023 Out back, the grounds take cues from the South Pacific as well with lush landscaping and local flora. Abby Montanez, Robb Report, 3 Jan. 2023 The practice of lepidoptery (collecting butterflies) has its roots in the 17th century, when explorers and scientists, largely from the West, journeyed thousands of miles under harsh conditions in order to discover new species of flora and fauna. Chris Wheatley, Longreads, 5 Jan. 2023 Black Tomato’s picks for where to travel in 2023 also includes Madagascar – one of the world’s most biodiverse and conservation-minded areas, with a richness of endemic flora and fauna. Angelina Villa-clarke, Forbes, 19 Dec. 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.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flora was in 1777

Dictionary Entries Near flora

Cite this Entry

“Flora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flora. Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


flo·​ra ˈflōr-ə How to pronounce flora (audio)
plural floras also florae ˈflō(ə)r-ˌē How to pronounce flora (audio)
: plants or plant life especially of a region, period, or environment

Medical Definition


plural floras also florae ˈflō(ə)r-ˌē How to pronounce flora (audio) ˈflȯ(ə)r- How to pronounce flora (audio)
: plant life
especially : the plants characteristic of a region, period, or special environment
fossil flora
compare fauna
: the microorganisms (as bacteria or fungi) living in or on the body
the beneficial flora of the intestine
potentially harmful skin flora
floral adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on flora

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