One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The night-flowering jasmine of India, Nyctanthes arbor-tristis (family Oleaceae), having fragrant star-shaped white flowers with orange central tubes clustered at the tips of the branches.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Gerard (c1545–1612), herbalist. From sad + tree, after post-classical Latin arbor tristis, so called on account of the supposedly melancholy appearance of the tree as it loses its flowers through the day.
sad tree/ˈsad triː/
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