One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A kind of coniferous tree, perhaps Norway spruce, Picea abies.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in John Evelyn (1620–1706), diarist and writer. From French † piceastre from † picéa a spruce or its etymon classical Latin picea a spruce, use as noun of feminine of piceus pitchy + French -astre.
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