One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The flax-lily of New Zealand.
- ‘Bronze-foliaged plants such as hop bush, phormiums, and purple smoke tree are cooling accents.’
- ‘Roses, honeysuckle and clematis run vigorously together up the pergola, beneath which are hebes, more hostas, hardy geraniums and several magnificent phormiums.’
- ‘Tall strap-leafed phormiums, or New Zealand flax, and the architectural-looking kniphofia, or red-hot poker, added structure just as surely as did the seating areas, paths, and stone work.’
- ‘Ornamental trees and shrubs in shades of burgundy, plum, rust, gold, and celery green are backdrops for shapely succulents, phormiums, and kangaroo paws.’
- ‘So I dug up all my surviving phormiums, what's left of them, and came to an immediate conclusion: something is eating the roots.’
Early 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek phormion ‘small basket’ (with reference to the use made of the fibres).
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