One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A genus of tropical Asian herbaceous plants and subshrubs (family Melastomataceae), the members of which have showy racemes or spikes of usually pink or purple, three-petalled flowers, and simple, sometimes colourful leaves; (also sonerila) a plant of this genus.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in John Lindley (1799–1865), botanist and horticulturist. From scientific Latin Sonerila, genus name from post-classical Latin Soneri ila (H. van Rhede tot Draakestein et al. Horti Malabarici IX. 127 and plate 65), probably from a compound in a language of India, with the first element perhaps reflecting an inflected form of Hindi sunahrā golden (or a related Indo-Aryan word) and the second element reflecting Malayalam ilā leaf (or a related Dravidian word).
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