One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large genus of the family Fabaceae (Leguminosae), of the north temperate zone, which consists of low-growing, often alpine plants, with pinnate leaves and racemes of purple, white, or yellow flowers; (also oxytropis) a plant of this genus (also called milk-vetch).
Early 19th century; earliest use found in John Loudon (1783–1843), landscape gardener and horticultural writer. From scientific Latin Oxytropis from ancient Greek ὀξυ- + τρόπις keel, with reference to the pointed projection at the end of the keel of the corolla.
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