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Flora

Flora

The word flora has two meanings in biology. One definition means all of the vegetation of a region, such as the flora of North America; the other means a book or other work that accounts for all of the plants of a region, such as The Flora of the Great Plains or The Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas. These books and others like them catalog the plants of a region and include information on distributions and habitat requirements, taxonomic keys for plant identification, and current nomenclature for the plants. The more sumptuous floras also include plant illustrations, distribution maps, and other sources of information. The flora of a region is a dynamic thing, and through time new plants are introduced, old plants change their distributions, some plants go extinct, botanical inaccuracies must be corrected, and new nomenclature must be accounted for. A flora is never truly completed. It is necessary for botanists to revise a regional flora periodically to bring its information up to date.

Systematic botany (or taxonomy) has two notable areas of study. One is monographic (or revisionary) study, with the goal of answering questions about evolutionary relationships, species delimitations, ecological matters, and other issues. The products of these studies are monographs or revisions that are based on field and laboratory studies and that account for a natural group of plants, regardless of where they occur. In the past emphasis was placed on understanding the biological nature of each species, and many research programs incorporated greenhouse and field studies and included studies of hybridization , chromosomal variations, and genetic differences associated with the plant's distribution. Such studies (termed biosystematics ) continue to be important, but the recent past has seen the arrival of sophisticated techniques to analyze the molecular constituents of plant's genetic material, and there has been much effort spent on using molecular taxonomy to show natural relationships, that is, to untangle evolutionary history. The product of monographic or revisionary studies is an authoritative monograph, which reports the results of basic studies on a group of plants. One could say that plants do not come with their names on them. It is the monographer who works out the species and their biologies and puts the proper names on them.

Unlike monographic studies, which are concerned with the biological details of a group of related plants, a flora is concerned with all of the plants of a particular region. Floristicists (or floristicians) must have great field familiarity with their region, and they base their studies on the works of monographers, whose monographs are edited to make their data relevant to the region being studied. For plant groups that have never received monographic study, the flora writer must use his or her intuition as best as possible, based upon experience and the specimens at hand. Every floristic botanist can point out plant groups that need further study, either from an imperfect understanding of the plant's biological behavior or from inconsistent information about its ecology and distribution. Even though the knowledge of the plants in a region may be incomplete, there is still a need to communicate what is known to the other scientists in the field, who need to have accepted names for plants in hand, a means of identification for them, and readily accessible ecological information.

Systematic botanists sometimes speak of the "cascade" of botanical information, whereby the monographers do basic studies on natural plant groups. The writers of floras then synthesize these studies into books that are passed to the primary consumers of botanical information, such as applied scientists, including agronomists, foresters, environmentalists, land managers, and others. From these people, the information flows on to the ultimate consumers: farmers and ranchers, business and industrial people, and, finally, householders.

see also Biogeography; Herbaria; Identification of Plants; Systematics; Taxonomic Keys; Taxonomy.

Theodore M. Barkley

Bibliography

Diggs, G., B. Lipscomb, and R. O'Kennon. Skinner's and Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas. Forth Worth, TX: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1999.

Great Plains Flora Association. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 1986.

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flora

flo·ra / ˈflôrə/ • n. (pl. flo·ras or flo·rae / ˈflôrē; ˈflôrī/ ) the plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period: the desert flora give way to oak woodlands the river's flora and fauna have been inventoried and protected.Compare with fauna. ∎  a treatise on or list of such plant life.

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flora

flora (adj. floral, floristic) All the plant species that make up the vegetation of a given area. The term is also applied to assemblages of fossil plants from a particular geologic time, or from a geographical region in a former geologic time. Examples of all three types of usage, respectively, are: British flora,Carboniferous flora, and Gondwana flora. Compare FAUNA.

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flora

flora (adj. floral, floristic) All the plant species that make up the vegetation of a given area. The term is also applied to assemblages of fossil plants from a particular geological time, or from a geographical region in a former geological time. Examples of all three types of usage, respectively, are: British flora, Carboniferous flora, and Gondwana flora.

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flora

flora(adj.floral, floristic) All the plant species that make up the vegetation of a given area. The term is also applied to assemblages of fossil plants from a particular geological time, or from a geographical region in a former geological time. Examples of all three types of usage, respectively, are: British flora, Carboniferous flora, and Gondwana flora.

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flora

flora (F-) goddess of flowering plants XVI; plant life of a region, period, etc. XVIII (as a book-title XVII). — L., f. flōs, flōr- FLOWER.
So floral XVII. — L. flōrālis or directly f. L. flōr-.

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flora

flora the plants of a particular region, habitat, or geological period. The term comes (in the late 18th century) from Latin flos, flor- flower.

Compare fauna.

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Flora

Flora, in Roman religion, goddess of flowers and fertility. Her festival, the Floralia, Apr. 28–May 1, was celebrated with great gaiety and licentiousness.

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Flora

Flora In Roman mythology, personification and goddess of springtime and of budding fruits, flowers and crops. She was honoured as a fertility goddess.

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flora

flora All the plant life normally present in a given habitat at a given time. See also microflora. Compare fauna.

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Flora

Flo·ra / ˈflôrə/ Roman Mythol. the goddess of flowering plants.

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flora

floraabhorrer, adorer, Andorra, angora, aura, aurora, bora, Bora-Bora, borer, Camorra, Cora, corer, Dora, Eleonora, Eudora, explorer, fedora, flora, fora, ignorer, Isadora, Kia-Ora, Laura, Leonora, Maura, menorah, Nora, pakora, Pandora, pourer, roarer, scorer, senhora, señora, signora, snorer, soarer, Sonora, sora, storer, Theodora, Torah, Tuscarora, Vlorë •goalscorer • cobra • okra • Oprah •Socotra • Moira • Sudra •chaulmoogra • supra •Brahmaputra, sutra •Zarathustra • Louvre • fulcra •Tripura •borough, burgh, Burra, curragh, demurrer, thorough •Rubbra •penumbra, umbra •tundra • chakra • ultra • kookaburra

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http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.