One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of shrubby and herbaceous plants (family Lamiaceae (Labiatae)) native to Mediterranean Europe and Asia, and typically having grey-green, woolly leaves and verticillasters of yellow, purple, or white flowers; (also phlomis) a plant of this genus, especially. Jerusalem sage, P. fruticosa.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in New & Complete Dictionary Arts & Science. From scientific Latin Phlomis, genus name (Linnaeus Species Plantarum II. 584) from classical Latin phlomis one or other plant of the genus Phlomis (Pliny) from Hellenistic Greek ϕλομίς (Dioscorides) from ancient Greek ϕλόμος mullein (goes to classical Latin phlomos (Pliny)), of unknown origin, perhaps a loanword + -ις.
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