One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of a genus that includes the cinquefoils, especially (in gardening) a small shrub with yellow or red flowers.
Genus Potentilla, family Rosaceae: many species
- ‘The fragrance garden features plants whose scents come from their flowers or leaves, while the medicinal garden includes healing types such as purple coneflower, potentilla, and willow.’
- ‘A hawk hid under the potentilla bush and leaped suddenly on an overconfident prairie dog a little too far from its burrow.’
- ‘Items stolen have included potentilla bushes, arabis and fuchsias.’
- ‘There is also a big selection of azaleas and rhododendrons as well as other shrubs such as potentilla.’
- ‘Rugged shrubs like barberry and potentilla give the garden permanent structure, while the rocks help protect the plants from searing winds and keep the soil from drying out.’
Modern Latin, based on Latin potent- ‘being powerful’ (with reference to its herbal qualities) + the diminutive suffix -illa.
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