One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of several attractively variegated kinds of wood used especially in cabinet work, especially that of the cabbage-bark tree or angelin, Andira inermis; (also) the wood of an Australian cabbage palm, Livistona inermis, and of the Venezuelan tree Caesalpinia granadillo (family Caesalpiniaceae (Leguminosae)).
2A speckled condition in the heartwood of oak resulting from infection by the basidiomycete fungus Stereum frustulatum.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Lindley (1799–1865), botanist and horticulturist. From partridge + wood.
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