One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tropical South American tree, Aspidosperma excelsum (family Apocynaceae) (also "paddlewood tree"); the light, elastic wood of this tree, used especially to make paddles for canoes.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robert Schomburgk (1804–1865), surveyor and traveller. From paddle + wood.
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