One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various plants constituting the chiefly Eurasian genus Ruscus (family Ruscaceae (formerly included in the Liliaceae)), of evergreen shrubs with flat, stiff, pointed shoots (cladophylls) that resemble leaves; especially butcher's broom, R. aculeatus, which has pale green flowers and is commonly grown in gardens. In later use also (in form Ruscus): the genus itself.
Mid 16th century; earliest use found in William Turner (d. 1568), naturalist and religious controversialist. From classical Latin rūscus, variant of rūscum butcher's broom, of unknown origin.
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