One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A grey crustose lichen formerly collected in the Auvergne region of France for use in making a violet dye.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in John Browne (1642–?1702/3), surgeon. From French perelle from Occitan peirèla name of a lichen, probably from peira stone + -ela. In forms parelle, parella after the French variant parelle, which may have arisen by confusion with French parelle red dock, and is probably also the source of scientific Latin parellus (in Lichen parellus, Linnaeus Mantissa Plantarum 132). Compare.
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