One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: the tropical American climbing plant Ipomoea quamoclit (family Convolvulaceae), with brilliant red flowers and deeply lobed leaves. Later also: (frequently with distinguishing word) any of various plants constituting the former genus Quamoclit; (also in form Quamoclit) the former genus itself.
Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Thomas Johnson (d. 1644), apothecary and soldier. From post-classical Latin quamoclit from Nahuatl quaˈmochitl ( ch =/tʃ/), apparently from qua- (in quauitl (now cuahuitl) tree) + -mochitl, of unknown meaning (not otherwise recorded in dictionaries of Nahuatl). Adopted into scientific Latin as a specific epithet (Linnaeus Species plantarum I. 159) and later used as a genus name.
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