Welcome to Word of the Week! Stay tuned for a new word each week to amp up your nature vocabulary!
Hirsute [hir·sute] (adjective): 1. covered in coarse, stiff hairs; 2. hairy.
When you look closely, many plants can be quite hairy (or "hirsute"). These hairs can give a plant several advantages. The hairs reduce the wind reaches a leaf and thereby reduces its loss of water. The hairs also deter sap-sucking insects such as aphids and leafhoppers from causing as much damage to the plant. Some hairs also deter larger grazing animals such as deer. A few examples of hirsute plants in High Park include: Staghorn Sumac stems, Black Oak leaves, Hoary vervain stems, the edges of Beech leaves and Round-headed Bush Clover.
Example: "I never knew that black oak leaves were so hirsute! They are way more hirsute than red oak leaves!"