One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A herbaceous plant with spikes of small fragrant greenish flowers.
Genus Reseda, family Resedaceae: several species, in particular the North African R. odorata, which is cultivated as an ornamental and for its essential oil, and the widespread wild mignonette (R. alba), originally a Mediterranean plant
- ‘Try poppies, cornflowers, stocks, love-in-a-mist, cosmos, mignonette, larkspur, honesty, ox-eye daisies, marigolds, phlox, sunflowers, zinnias - whatever takes your fancy.’
- ‘At Vithion in its wonderful setting by the sea near the end of the peninsula, there were mignonettes, scarlet tulips and geraniums.’
- ‘The lightweight polypropylene mesh stretches between stakes, over your flowers that need support - like snapdragons, lisianthus, campanula, mignonette and many more.’
- ‘I used to put a little vase of mignonette beside his photograph.’
Early 18th century: from French mignonnette, diminutive of mignon ‘small and sweet’.
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