One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A purple-flowered species of American cowslip, Dodecatheon meadia, native to eastern North America and often cultivated in gardens. Now usually called shooting star.
Mid 18th century. From scientific Latin Meadia (published as a genus name in M. Catesby Nat. Hist. Carolina II. Apparently, although apparently in earlier use; adopted as a specific epithet (in Dodecatheon Meadia) by Linnaeus in his Species Plantarum I. 144) from the name of Richard Mead, English physician and botanical patron + -ia.
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