One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A deciduous shrub, Edgeworthia papyrifera (family Thymelaeaceae) bearing clusters of fragrant yellow flowers, which is native to China but widely cultivated in Japan, where its bast fibre is used in the manufacture of paper.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in The Athenaeum. From Japanese mitsumata from mitsu-mata three-pronged fork, trident from mitsu-, combining form of mittsu three (things) (from mi three + -tsu, suffix forming numeral nouns) + mata fork.
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