One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of numerous plants of the genus Bignonia or family Bignoniaceae, comprising mainly tropical and subtropical American trees, shrubs, and lianes; especially any of those popular in cultivation for their brightly coloured, trumpet-shaped flowers. Also (in form Bignonia): the genus itself.
Early 18th century. From post-classical Latin and scientific Latin Bignonia from the name of the Abbé Jean-Paul Bignon, librarian to Louis XIV + -ia.
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