One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The North American Dichelostemma ida-maia (formerly Brodiaea coccinea) (family Asparagaceae), native to California, with clusters of red and white lily-like flowers (also called vegetable firecracker).
2The tropical Crossandra infundibuliformis (family Acanthaceae), native to South Asia, with colourful flowers and seed pods which may burst in wet or humid conditions.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Vick's Monthly Magazine.
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