One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Arranged in threes, especially (of a compound leaf) having three leaflets.
- ‘Based on leaf architecture, there are three main compound leaf types: pinnate, palmate, and ternate.’
- ‘Mexican mock orange (Choisya ternata) is a good example of a plant with ternate leaves.’
Mid 18th century: from modern Latin ternatus, from medieval Latin ternare ‘make threefold’, from terni ‘three at once’.
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