One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the gentian family, typically having pink petals atop long calyx tubes.
Centaurium and related genera, family Gentianaceae: many species, including the wild C. pulchellum and the cultivated ornamental C. scilloides
- ‘Centaury varies a great deal according to) its situation, and some botanists enumerate several distinct species.’
- ‘The mythical centaur Chironia, cured a poison arrow wound with centaury, hence its name.’
- ‘The leaves, stems, and flowers of centaury are used medicinally.’
Late Middle English: from late Latin centaurea, based on Greek kentauros ‘centaur’ (because its medicinal properties were said to have been discovered by the centaur Chiron).
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