One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1English regional (Isle of Wight), field cow wheat, Melampyrum arvense, formerly a serious weed in parts of the Isle of Wight (now historical).
2United States regional any of various plants that grow as weeds on poor soil, chiefly of the family Asteraceae, especially the marsh elder, Iva axillaris.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in James Halliwell (1820–1889), antiquary and literary scholar.
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