One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several storksbills of the Eurasian genus Erodium, especiallyE. cicutarium (with bright pink flowers) and E. moschatum (with purple flowers), formerly cultivated as forage plants and now widely naturalized in North America.
Mid 19th century. From Spanish alfilerillo from alfiler pin + -illo (from classical Latin -illus: see -illa), with alteration of the suffix after -illa. In some forms with further alteration of the suffix after -ia, probably by analogy with scientific Latin botanical names ending in -eria and -aria. The plants are so called on account of the shape of their carpels.
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