One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several amaranths of the central and South American genus Gomphrena (family Amaranthaceae); specificallyG. globosa, an annual widely grown for its compact, easily dried flower heads, which are purple in the native plant and in various other colours in cultivars.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philip Miller (1691–1771), horticulturist and writer.
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