One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: †bracken, Pteridium aquilinum (formerly Pteris aquilina) (obsolete). In later use (in form Pteris): a genus of ferns, now comprising largely tropical and subtropical species but formerly including bracken; (also in form pteris) a fern of this genus (also "pteris fern").
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Philemon Holland (1552–1637), translator. From classical Latin pteris, either of two kinds of fern, sometimes identified with male fern and bracken (Pliny; later adopted as genus name: see note below) and its etymon Hellenistic Greek πτέρις male fern (from ancient Greek πτερόν wing + -ις), so called on account of its feathery leaves.
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