One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Botany. Originally: †having many petals (obsolete). Later: having petals that are separate, not united (opposed to gamopetalous, monopetalous, and sympetalous).
Late 17th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From poly- + -petalous. Compare scientific Latin polypetalus.
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