One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of several closely related shrubs allied to the brooms; especially Retama monosperma, of sandy coastal regions in Spain and North Africa, and Cytisus supranubius, found at high altitude on Tenerife, Canary Islands. In later use also (also in form Retama): any plant of the genus Retama, or the genus itself.
2US. The Jerusalem thorn, Parkinsonia aculeata, a palo verde which resembles a broom.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Dublin Magazine. From Spanish retama any of several closely related shrubs resembling a broom from Arabic ratama, singular form corresponding to ratam (collective noun) retem.
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