One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various plants constituting the cosmopolitan genus Alternanthera (family Amaranthaceae), which comprises low-growing stoloniferous plants (some of which are aquatic), typically having small white flowers and sometimes grown as bedding plants. Also (in form Alternanthera): the genus itself.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Journal Horticulture. From scientific Latin Alternanthera, genus name from classical Latin alternātus + post-classical Latin anthera, with reference to the arrangement of sterile and fertile anthers in an alternating pattern.
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