One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of Central and South American cacti which are often hemispherical in shape, and prominently ribbed, with the flowers borne on a woolly terminal structure; (also melocactus) a cactus of this genus (also called melon-cactus, melon-thistle, Turk's cap).
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philip Miller (1691–1771), horticulturist and writer. From post-classical Latin melocactus (C. Bauhin Pinax 5) from post-classical Latin melo + cactus.
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