One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Designating a T-shaped unicellular hair, characteristic of plants of the family Malpighiaceae.
2Belonging to the family Malpighiaceae, comprising dicotyledonous trees and shrubs found chiefly in tropical America, of which the type genus is Malpighia.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Lindley (1799–1865), botanist and horticulturist. From scientific Latin malpighiaceus (in pilus Malpighiaceus) (A. P. de Candolle Théorie Élémentaire de la Botanique 319; from Malpighia, genus name (Linnaeus Species Plantarum I. 425, after C. Plumier Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera 46; from Malpighi + -a) + -aceous: see -aceous) + -ous.
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