Dictionary > Flora


n., plural: floras; florae
Definition: the various plant groups that live in a certain place or time

Flora in Roman history refers to flowers. Flora was considered the god of spring for the Roman empire. In ecology, flora is a word that refers generally to the kingdom of plants. However, the term refers particularly to a group of plants in a specific region or period. On the other hand, a group of animals found in a specific region and period is known as fauna. So either plants or animals in any specific area are called flora and fauna.

Flora Definition

What is flora? Scientists define flora as a group of plants. In biology, flora refers to the plants found in specific regions, such as flora in North America, or of a geologic period. the term has a variety of synonyms: vegetation, leafage, foliage, and herbage.

Flora or as referred to as plants have a kingdom that includes members of different sizes ranging from small to giant ones such as trees. This kingdom has plenty of variations but there is a mutual factor between its members, all of them are eukaryotic multicellular species. They also have pigments such as chlorophyll that enable them to produce energy by converting the light of the sun into chemical energy in a process called photosynthesis. Plants store the excess food as starch, which is a macromolecule.

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Plants are fixed and generally non-motile. They can also use some nitrogen inorganic products to generate energy such as nitrate and ammonia which are toxic products for humans.

Plants cells consist of the following:

A. Chloroplasts: responsible for the photosynthesis process.
B. Ribosomes: responsible for the production of protein.
C. Endoplasmic reticulum which may be rough or smooth.
D. Nucleus consists of nucleoplasm, nucleolus, nuclear envelope, and nuclear pore.
E. Golgi apparatus
F. Vesicle
G. Cytoplasm contains all organelles.
H. Lysosomes damage the bacterial enzymes which invade the plant.
I. Mitochondria is the organelle that generates energy.
J. Cell wall consists of cellulose and protects the cell.
K. Plasmodesmata

plant cell vacuole
Figure 1. Anatomy of a plant cell showing the location of the vacuole. Credit: CNX OpenStax – plant cell diagram.


Plants can be classified according to plenty of divisions considering lots of factors such as:

i. Presence or absence of tissue in plants
ii. The ability of a plant to bear seeds or not

The plant generally consists of :

a) Plant body: root, stem, and leaves
b) Vascular system: responsible for the transport of the water and nutrients (phloem and xylem)
c) Seed formation: may be naked or enclosed seeds

Based on the structure of plants:

a) Thallophyta: this type is the lower or primitive plant because they don’t have a differentiated design as the body of the plant may not have roots, stems, or leaves like algae.

b) Bryophytes: this type has a differentiated body design but this type does not have a transport system that is responsible for the conduction of the water in the plant. So this type always lives in moist sandy regions as they can bear hard environmental factors. This type is also named amphibians since it does not have vascular tissues.

c) Pteridophyta: this type is the oldest type of vascular plant. This type can be considered a bryophyte but with a tissue that can be used to conduct water. In this type, the organs that are responsible for reproductivity are unclear. In addition, the embryo of this type is naked.

d) Phanerogamae: this type includes plants that bear seeds. This type has differentiated stems, roots, leaves, and reproductive organs as well. In addition, this type of plant has a vascular system. Seeds of this type can be enclosed or naked. There are two sub-classifications: Gymnosperms that produce naked seeds. They represent about 650 types of living plants. This type has a vascular system but does not have vessels. In Gymnosperms, there is no formation of fruits. The other type is angiosperms in which seeds are enclosed, not naked. Its seeds are formed inside the tissue of the plant to produce the fruit. Therefore, it is referred to as flowering plants. Angiosperms have a well-differentiated vascular system which consists of xylem and phloem.

Additionally, there is another classification depending on the original land of the plants; native flora and non-native flora.

  • Native flora includes plants growing in a region by instinct or by themselves without being planted by humans.
  • Non-native or urban flora includes plants being planted by humans in a wild or civilized environment.

Flora Examples

There are a lot of examples of flora”plants” all over the world depending on the classification above as the following:

  • Bryophyte flora: Examples of this type of plant are mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. For example, Mosses flora form about 12.000 species. They are bryophytes, nonvascular and primitive flora. In addition, they bear spores. They are distributed all over the world but cannot be found in saltwater. They are mainly used in the erosion of the soil.
  • Pteridophyta flora: An example of this type is Salvinia natans. This species is a non-seed flora, meaning it does not produce seed but spores under its leaves, which the winds take from one plant to another over long distances.
  • Gymnosperms: The most common example of this type is the Giant Sequoia Tree.
  • Angiosperms: They are floral (flowering) plants. The most common examples are Amazon water lilies and sunflowers. Generally, this type can be used widely for humans and animals in the medical field. Therefore, it can be considered a flora medicine or used generally for health purposes.
    « Amazon water lily is a rainforest flora as they live in the Amazon forest. It is also referred to as an aquatic plant as it lives in lakes of America, especially the southern ones.
    « Sunflower plant is a flora (a flowering plant). As it can be used as a flower and as a plant.
Figure 2: examples of flora. Image Credit: Wikimedia.


Normal Flora

The term normal flora is different from the flora that is described above. Normal flora refers to the microorganisms that live naturally on the body of another organism. “Natural” because these microorganisms do not cause disease to their host (unless under certain conditions, such as when the host becomes immunocompromised). The human body, for instance, has normal flora consisting of bacteria that apparently protect the body against the invasion of more harmful disease-causing bacteria. Escherichia coli is an example of bacterial species that is a part of the normal gut flora.

Answer the quiz below to check what you have learned so far about flora.


Choose the best answer. 

1. What is flora?

2. Plant group with no vascular system

3. Plant group producing seeds

4. Mosses belong to this plant group

5. Includes the flowering plants

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Further Reading


  • Tropical Rainforest Plant List, Information, Pictures and Facts. Wild. (2019, May 2). Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.activewild.com/tropical-rainforest-plants-list/
  • Classification of plants: 4 major types of plants. Bio Explorer. (2021, October 10). Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/
  • Classification of plants: 4 major types of plants. Bio Explorer. (2021, October 10). Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.bioexplorer.net/plants/
  • Encyclopedia.com. (2022, April 26). .” Plant Sciences. . encyclopedia.com. 25 Apr. 2022.
  • Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/philosophy-and-religion/ancient-religions/ancient-religion/flora
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Definition of the kingdom. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/plant/plant/Definition-of-the-kingdom
  • Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Moss. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from https://www.britannica.com/plant/moss-plant
  • Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Flora definition & meaning. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flora#synonyms
  • Plant Kingdom – TOPPR-Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.toppr.com/guides/biology/diversity-in-living-organisms/plant-kingdom/

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