One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A dark purple variety of plum; the tree bearing this fruit, used chiefly as a stock for grafting.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Francis Bacon (1561–1626), lord chancellor, politician, and philosopher. From mussel + plum, so named from its resemblance in shape and colour to a mussel shell.
mussel plum/ˈmʌsl plʌm/
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