One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: any of several plants of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae); especially (a) cow parsley, Anthriscus sylvestris; (b) rough chervil, Chaerophyllum temulum; (c) sweet cicely, Myrrhis odorata. Later (in form Myrrhis): a genus of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) (now monotypic and restricted to sweet cicely, M. odorata).
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Turner (d. 1568), naturalist and religious controversialist. From classical Latin myrris, myrrhis an aromatic umbellifer, perhaps specifically Myrrhis odorata (Pliny) from Hellenistic Greek μυρρίς (also μυρίς) from μύρρα + -ις.
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