One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of a genus that includes the cinquefoils, especially (in gardening) a small shrub with bright yellow, red, orange, or pink flowers.
Genus Potentilla, family Rosaceae: many species
- ‘There is also a big selection of azaleas and rhododendrons as well as other shrubs such as potentilla.’
- ‘A hawk hid under the potentilla bush and leaped suddenly on an overconfident prairie dog a little too far from its burrow.’
- ‘Rugged shrubs like barberry and potentilla give the garden permanent structure, while the rocks help protect the plants from searing winds and keep the soil from drying out.’
- ‘The fragrance garden features plants whose scents come from their flowers or leaves, while the medicinal garden includes healing types such as purple coneflower, potentilla, and willow.’
- ‘Items stolen have included potentilla bushes, arabis and fuchsias.’
Modern Latin, based on Latin potent- ‘being powerful’ (with reference to its herbal qualities) + the diminutive suffix -illa.
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