One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Botany. In early use: the stalk of a plant part (leaf, flower, etc.). Later: specifically a leaf stalk; = "petiole". Now rare.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Hans Sloane (1660–1753), physician and collector. From classical Latin petiolus, variant (in later MSS and editions) of peciolus little foot, stalk of fruit, probably representing a diminutive formation from ped-, pēs foot; compare -ole. In specific use in sense 1 after scientific Latin petiolus leaf stalk (Linnaeus, 1751 or earlier).
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