One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A portion of a plant, lichen, etc., capable of giving rise to a new individual; specifically (a) (in a lichen) a fragment of the thallus capable of propagating the lichen.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in James Edward Smith (1759–1828), botanist. From scientific Latin propagulum from classical Latin propāgō shoot laid down in layering, runner + -ulum.
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