One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An imitation flower made from paper.
2Any of several plants with flowers or bracts of a papery texture, especially (a) US a small shrub of the family Asteraceae (Compositae), Psilostrophe cooperi, native to south-western desert areas of the United States and bearing panicles of yellow flowers; (b) a bougainvillea, especially Bougainvillea glabra.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Lyly (1554–1606), writer and playwright. From paper + flower.
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