One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various plants growing as weeds of cultivated land and typically having tough or wiry stems; specifically (a) black or common knapweed, Centaurea nigra (now rare); (b) North American any of several species of the genus Vernonia (family Asteraceae (Compositae)).
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Batchelor (1775–1838), farmer and writer on language. From iron + weed.
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