Flora


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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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Flora

 

the historically formed aggregate of plant species unique to a definite geographic area owing to present natural conditions and to the geological past. The flora of one region is in more or less stable relationship with the flora of other, especially adjacent, regions. Theoretically the term “flora” embraces all the plants of a given territory, but in practice it often refers only to seed plants and ferns of the area being studied. Aggregates of lower and other higher plants are usually given such designations as the flora of spore plants, the flora of algae, and the flora of mosses. Imported naturalized plants, in particular weeds, are considered a natural link in the chain of a flora.

The makeup of a particular flora is to some extent arbitrary, since it depends on the size of the region under study. The object of study and description may be the flora of a country, for example, the flora of the USSR. Sometimes the flora of only certain parts of a country is studied, for example, the flora of Leningrad Oblast. Also studied are the floras of territories independent in respect to their natural history (for example, the Caucasus or Middle Russia), botanicogeographic regions, (for example, Manchuria or Antarctica), or parts of the earth that are more or less isolated by natural boundaries (for example, Iceland and Kamchatka).

Analysis of a particular flora is based on the species and genus composition. The various species are subdivided according to specific characteristics into elements of the flora. Specifically, geographic elements unite species with the same geographic distribution, and genetic elements unite species that are closely related in geographic origin and history of distribution. In the course of botanicogeographic (geographic and genetic) analysis, the relationship of the flora under study with other floras is determined. Ecophytocenological analysis delimits elements of flora according to their connection with ecological conditions and with various types of vegetation. Age analysis makes it possible to identify progressive (young in time of origin and in time of distribution), conservative, and relict elements. Relicts are regarded as survivals of past states of the vegetational cover. The availability of paleobotanical data makes it possible to determine the age of certain elements of a flora and the time the elements became part of the flora.

One of the most important features of a flora is the systematic structure, that is, the existence of representatives of various systematic groups that are characteristic of various botanicogeographic regions. There are definite quantitative ratios between each group. Changes in these ratios are among the most important factors in the comparative characterization of floras.

In the first approximation the richness of a flora is determined according to an inventory of the various species and genera. However, the dependence of the number of species and genera on the size of the habitat of each flora hampers a comparative evaluation of the richness of floras. Methods for comparative study of floras are needed that ensure the comparability of juxtaposed data—approximate equality of the quantitative indexes that characterize various floras. The method of studying specific floras yields the best possibilities for comparative determination of the richness of floras. Analysis of the inventory of species and genera, particularly geographic and genetic analysis, and a comprehensive comparative interpretation serve as the basis for floristic regionalization of the earth.

The term “flora” is the traditional heading for comprehensive treatises on the systematic composition of the plant world in a given region. Floras contain detailed descriptions of plant species, keys for identification, data on growth conditions and geographic distribution (on the territory encompassed by the flora and throughout the world), and information about economically important properties and uses of the plants. The territory covered by an individual flora is determined by the extent of field work conducted in preparation for publication. Many floras summarize the knowledge of the systematic composition of the plant world of a given territory, thereby serving as an important basis for further botanical study.

REFERENCES

Grossgeim, A. A. Analiz flory Kavkaza. Baku, 1936.
Tolmachev, A. I. O kolichestvennoi kharakteristike flor i floristicheskikh oblastei. Moscow-Leningrad, 1941.
Tolmachev, A. I. Vvedenie v geografiiu rastenii. Leningrad, 1974.
Vul’f, E. V. Istoricheskaia geografiia rastenii: Isloriia flor zemnogo shara. Moscow-Leningrad, 1944.
Alekhin, V. V., L. V. Kudriashov, and V. S. Govorukhin. Geografiia rastenii s osnovami botaniki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1961.

A. I. TOLMACHEV


Flora

 

in Roman mythology, the goddess of flowers, youth, and spring flowering. The Floralia, a festival celebrated in honor of Flora, consisted of games that sometimes took on a licentious character. In art Flora has frequently been depicted as a young girl with flowers; the goddess has been the subject of works by many great artists, including Titian, Poussin, and Rembrandt.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

flora

[′flȯr·ə]
(botany)
Plants.
The plant life characterizing a specific geographic region or environment.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Flora

goddess of this season. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 130]
See: Spring
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

flora

1. all the plant life of a given place or time
2. a descriptive list of such plants, often including a key for identification
3. short for intestinal flora
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in classic literature ?
'One remark,' said Flora, giving their conversation, without the slightest notice and to the great terror of Clennam, the tone of a love-quarrel, 'I wish to make, one explanation I wish to offer, when your Mama came and made a scene of it with my Papa and when I was called down into the little breakfast-room where they were looking at one another with your Mama's parasol between them seated on two chairs like mad bulls what was I to do?'
'I can't Arthur,' returned Flora, 'be denounced as heartless by the whole society of China without setting myself right when I have the opportunity of doing so, and you must be very well aware that there was Paul and Virginia which had to be returned and which was returned without note or comment, not that I mean to say you could have written to me watched as I was but if it had only come back with a red wafer on the cover I should have known that it meant Come to Pekin Nankeen and What's the third place, barefoot.'
'One more remark,' proceeded Flora with unslackened volubility, 'I wish to make, one more explanation I wish to offer, for five days I had a cold in the head from crying which I passed entirely in the back drawing-room--there is the back drawing-room still on the first floor and still at the back of the house to confirm my words--when that dreary period had passed a lull succeeded years rolled on and Mr F.
'One last remark,' proceeded Flora, rejecting commonplace life with a wave of her hand, 'I wish to make, one last explanation I wish to offer, there was a time ere Mr F.
With these words, and with a hasty gesture fraught with timid caution--such a gesture had Clennam's eyes been familiar with in the old time--poor Flora left herself at eighteen years of age, a long long way behind again; and came to a full stop at last.
As if there were a secret understanding between herself and Clennam of the most thrilling nature; as if the first of a train of post-chaises and four, extending all the way to Scotland, were at that moment round the corner; and as if she couldn't (and wouldn't) have walked into the Parish Church with him, under the shade of the family umbrella, with the Patriarchal blessing on her head, and the perfect concurrence of all mankind; Flora comforted her soul with agonies of mysterious signalling, expressing dread of discovery.
The Patriarch insisted on his staying to dinner, and Flora signalled 'Yes!' Clennam so wished he could have done more than stay to dinner--so heartily wished he could have found the Flora that had been, or that never had been--that he thought the least atonement he could make for the disappointment he almost felt ashamed of, was to give himself up to the family desire.
'My dear Flora,' returned Alexander, 'a pound note won't see us very far; and besides, this is my father's business, and I shall be very much surprised if it isn't my father who pays for it.'
'I would not apply to him yet; I do not think that can be wise,' objected Flora.
'I wish you had not done that,' said Flora. 'You will never hear the last of it.'
And as she stood there in front of a microphone looking increasingly abandoned in the face of such strong condemnation, it was a struggle to remember when the Tories were the party of the family and that Flora was among 500 friends.