One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A low-growing European mountain plant of the pink family, which bears small greenish flowers.
Minuartia sedoides, family Caryophyllaceae
- ‘Even the mountain tops had carpets of Mountain Azalea, Moss Campion and Cyphel.’
- ‘Arctic-alpines also dominate here, usually moss campion and alpine lady's mantle, and sometimes cyphel.’
- ‘An ascent of Tom Buidhe over Meikle Kilrannoch reveals the breathtaking flowers of alpine catchfly as well as clumps of cyphel.’
- ‘As the day was improving all the time, we carried on upwards, slowly ascending Barkeval, on whose slopes moss campion, northern rock cress, stone bramble, and mossy cyphel and starry saxifrage were found.’
- ‘Climb the Storr mountain and you will find a range of Arctic and Alpine plants: arctic clubmoss, mossy cyphel, purple saxifrage and Iceland purslane amongst others.’
Late Middle English (denoting the houseleek): apparently from Greek kuphella ‘hollows of the ears’.
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