One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of tall herbaceous perennials of the family Papaveraceae with large lobed cordate leaves and plumelike panicles of small cream or pink flowers, native to China and Japan and cultivated elsewhere as ornamental plants; (also macleaya) a plant of this genus (which was formerly included in the genus Bocconia), especially Macleaya cordata (also called plume poppy, bocconia).
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Lindley (1799–1865), botanist and horticulturist. From scientific Latin Macleaya from the name of Alexander Macleay, Scottish entomologist and secretary to the Linnean Society 1798–1825 + -a.
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