One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Of or relating to the taxonomic group Scitamineae, a former order of monocotyledonous tropical plants that included the present-day families Musaceae (banana, plantain, etc.) and Zingiberaceae (ginger, turmeric, and other spices), and corresponds to the modern order Zingiberales.
Late 18th century. From scientific Latin Scitamineae (Linnaeus, Genera plantarum (ed. 6, 1764), or earlier), altered form of Scitamina neuter plural, the name given to this group by Linnaeus, on the model of classical Latin scītāmenta delicacies, since some of the plants produce delicious fruit + -ous.
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