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

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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 Arts and Crafts pattern, from 1883, features rhythmic flourishes of flora and fauna in enthusiastic colors. Elizabeth Quinn Brown, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 Even the flight of the ducks who had taken up residence in Tony’s swimming pool — not to mention all the lingering shots on the swaying flora of North Jersey — reads differently now, in an era of unprecedented environmental degradation and ruin. New York Times, 29 Sep. 2021 The swampy wetlands are an important habitat for Florida flora and fauna but can be inhospitable for humans with seasonal heat, humidity and bugs. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, 19 Sep. 2021 There are also examples of her botanical sketches, works on paper, biomorphic collages, assemblage boxes, and recent soft sculpture and paintings on canvas depicting flora in a limitless variety of patterns. Margie Goldsmith, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 Boulders’ spa treatments use native flora to enhance the herbal nature of select treatments, treating the process as a science as much as a craft. Shelby Knick, Forbes, 22 Sep. 2021 Charlie is finally feeling free after getting tangled with some local flora. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, 20 Aug. 2021 She was also recognized for turning to native and ethnobotanical flora to give landscapes and their inhabitants a sense of place. BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2021 She was also recognized for turning to native and ethnobotanical flora to give landscapes and their inhabitants a sense of place. Washington Post, 5 June 2021

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.

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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

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Flora.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flora. Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for flora



English Language Learners Definition of flora

: all the plants that live in a particular area, time, period, or environment


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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