One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In full "mugo pine". The dwarf mountain pine, Pinus mugo, of central and south-eastern European mountains, which forms a counterpart to the tree-sized P. uncinata of south-western Europe.
Mid 18th century. Partly from Italian mugo small mountain pine (plural mughi; 1563 in Mattioli; 1561 as mugho), probably of pre-Indo-European origin. Compare Italian regional (Trent) mughi (plural), cited as a local word by Mattioli.
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