One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(Originally) an abnormal proliferation of roots, especially as a sign of disease; (now usually) specifically a viral disease of sugar beet whose main symptom is the excessive production of small fibrous roots at the expense of the main storage root.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Lindley (1799–1865), botanist and horticulturist. After German Rhizomanie.
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