One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various large hardwood trees constituting the genus Afzelia (family Fabaceae (Leguminosae)), native to tropical Africa and South-East Asia and valued for their coarse-textured, heavy, and extremely durable timber.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in James Edward Smith (1759–1828), botanist. From scientific Latin Afzelia, genus name (J. E. Smith 1798, in Trans. Linn. Soc 4 221) from the name of Adam Afzelius, Swedish botanist, who discovered the tree + scientific Latin -a.
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