One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of several yellow- and black-flowered plants constituting the genus Arnebia (family Boraginaceae), characterized by flowers with evanescent dark spots and including A. pulchra, native from Armenia to Iran, and A. griffithii, of Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc., both sometimes grown elsewhere for ornament.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Harper's Magazine. In some forms from prophet + flower. In some forms from the genitive of prophet + flower, both apparently after Ottoman Turkish gül-i peyġāmber, lit. ‘flower of the Messenger (Prophet, i.e. Muhammad)’, itself apparently after Persian guli payġāmbar from guli, combining form of gul flower + payġāmbar, payġambar prophet (from payġām, payġam message + bar-, present stem of burdan to carry, bear). Neither the Ottoman Turkish nor the Persian expression is listed in standard dictionaries and both appear to be rare. Perhaps compare Turkish peygamber çiçeği from peygamber Messenger + çiçeği, combining form of çiçek flower.
Prophet flower/ˈprɒfɪt ˌflaʊə/
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