un·​der·​sto·​ry | \ ˈən-dər-ˌstȯr-ē How to pronounce understory (audio) \

Definition of understory

1 : an underlying layer of vegetation specifically : the vegetative layer and especially the trees and shrubs between the forest canopy and the ground cover
2 : the plants that form the understory

Examples of understory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The understory is strewn with sprawling colonies of pawpaw (Asimina triloba), one even offering a few ripe fruits. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 17 Sep. 2021 Once a trail is built, maintainers deal with flooding, erosion and problems created by humans, who have a pernicious tendency to wander off a trail and muck about in fragile forest understory. Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2021 Not only the big old trees, but the open patches, the new young growth, the canopy and understory, the dead and downed wood, and the soil. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 18 July 2021 Those are typically clear-cut, then sprayed with pesticide, and another round of trees planted — all the same species and age class, on land from which the understory has been eliminated. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 18 July 2021 Vine maples twine through the understory that in spring is spangled with trillium and carpeted with vanilla leaf, a native perennial forest herb named for its sweet scent when dried. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 18 July 2021 Squirrels scurried about and birds flitted through the understory of shrubs and small trees nourished by splashes of sunlight. Susan Degrane, chicagotribune.com, 22 June 2021 The mature canopy includes more than 22 species of deciduous trees -- including oaks, hickories and maples -- while the understory includes viburnum, dogwood, pawpaw and more. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, 6 June 2021 Leaves in the understory are blackish-green platters, often dusty with pollen, and thinner than those above. Rebecca Giggs, The Atlantic, 17 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'understory.' 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 understory

1902, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of understory was in 1902

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Last Updated

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Understory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/understory. Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on understory

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about understory


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