One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Belonging to or characteristic of the genus Parmelia of foliose lichens or the large family Parmeliaceae to which this genus belongs.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Edward Tuckerman (1817–1886). Either from scientific Latin Parmeliaceae, family name + -ous, or from scientific Latin Parmelia, genus name (E. Acharius Methodus qua Omnes Detectos Lichenes ii. 153; from Hellenistic Greek πάρμη small round shield (from classical Latin parma, probably a loanword) + εἰλεῖν to shut in, of uncertain origin) + -aceous.
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