One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossilized root of a giant lycopod, common in Carboniferous coal measures.
Class Lycopsida, in particular the genera Lepidodendron and Sigillaria
- ‘The rhizomes, or root systems, of both genera, known as stigmariae, were thought to be distinct plants when their fossils were first discovered.’
- ‘Stigmariae are most often found in layers of clay below coal seams; the clay layer is thought to represent the layer of soil below the coal swamps.’
- ‘The round nodes on the surface of the stigmaria are scars where ribbon-like rootlets were once attached and arranged radially about the stigmaria like the bristles of a bottle brush.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek stigma, with reference to the scars where rootlets were attached, covering the fossils.
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