Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A broad-leaved herb other than a grass, especially one growing in a field, prairie, or meadow.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any non-woody flowering plant that is not a grass.

Etymologies

From Greek phorbē, fodder, from pherbein, to graze.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek φορβη (phorbe, "food"), from φορβειν (phorbein, "graze") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • For example, not everyone knows that a "forb" is a wildflower.

    Multichannel Merchant Most Recent

  • • A "forb" is a wildflower that grows without human involvement.

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  • Placement of high densities of ungulates on a grassland clearly removes poaceae and other forb biomass at a rapid rate.

    Overgrazing

  • In the tall-grass prairie of Iowa, for example, typical grasses are big bluestem and little bluestem; a typical forb is black-eyed Susan.

    Prairie Division (Bailey)

  • While sand sagebrush and prairie grasses such as sand dropseed, sand bluestem, and big sandreed may create a continuous plant cover in portions of Ecoregion 25j, the shrub and forb cover may be sparse in dune areas.

    Ecoregions of Texas (EPA)

  • Today Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine are common, along with lodgepole pine and some aspen parkland with a sagebrush and forb understory.

    Ecoregions of Wyoming (EPA)

  • This class of European grasslands often include considerable hectarage that have been partially cultivated by humans, are which are, in fact, effective refugia for grass and forb taxa that might otherwise have become extinct.

    Habitat fragmentation

  • I would suggest that any tall forb that enjoys the prairie life style would be a natural for your fans.

    The Lawn Experiment-Open To Suggestions « Fairegarden

  • I don't know the name of this flower - looks like a forb - or species of fly visiting this tall wild flower I found in an open-field in Groningen, the Netherlands.

    Archive 2009-09-01

  • Meadows are dominated by the sedge (Kobresia pygmaea) in association with many dicotyledenous forb species, most of which belong to genera common throughout the Himalayan alpine region.

    Southeast Tibet shrub and meadows

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Comments

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  • Forbs are herbaceous flowering plants that are not graminoids (grasses, sedges and rushes). The term is frequently used in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands, to refer to broad-leaved (dicot) herbs. Forbs represent a guild of plant species with broadly similar growth form, which in ecology is often more important than taxonomic relationship.

    In addition to its use in ecological studies, the term forb may also be used for subdividing popular guides to the wildflowers of a region, together with other categories such as ferns, grasses, shrubs and trees. This approach is not followed in formal regional floras, which are usually organised taxonomically.

    _Wikipedia

    February 12, 2008

  • You get a bunch of them together and before you know it it's all classic Harleys and Faberge eggs and quixotic flat-tax presidential bids.

    January 16, 2008

  • Best word I've discovered in some time.

    January 16, 2008