One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1The water violet Hottonia palustris, which is a member of the primrose family (now rare).
2Any of various aquatic or waterside plants of the genus Ludwigia (family Onagraceae), having yellow, primrose-like flowers; especially Ludwigia hexapetala, native to tropical America but naturalized elsewhere and often considered an invasive weed.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William Houghton (?1829–1897).
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