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Word of the Week: Hirsute
September 27, 2018 by Jon Hayes

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!"

The hirsute stem of Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta). Hoary Vervain is an important native plant that provides tons of nectar for bees throughout the summer.
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