One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(of a flower) having no petals.
- ‘Flowers are small, with white petals up to 2.5 mm or often apetalous, and last only a short time.’
- ‘Morphological characters include leaves that are not gland-dotted, persistent intrapetiolar stipules, some apetalous species, and a reduction in stamen number in several species.’
- ‘Flowers in both species are apetalous, with short, inconspicuous calyx lobes and no nectaries.’
- ‘The flower is apetalous with deciduous sepals.’
Early 18th century: from modern Latin apetalus, from Greek apetalos ‘leafless’ (from a- ‘without’ + petalon ‘leaf’) + -ous.
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