ageratum

noun ag·er·a·tum \ ˌa-jə-ˈrā-təm \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of ageratum

plural ageratum also ageratums
: any of a genus (Ageratum) of annual tropical American composite herbs often cultivated for their small showy heads of usually blue or white flowers; also : a related blue-flowered perennial (Eupatorium coelestinum)

Origin and Etymology of ageratum

borrowed from New Latin (Linnaeus), going back to Latin ageraton (Pliny), a plant, perhaps Achillea ageratum, borrowed from Greek agḗraton (Dioscorides), from neuter of agḗratos "ageless, undecaying," from a- 2a- + -gēratos, derivative from the base of gêras "old age" — more at geront-
Note: Introduced by Linnaeus in Hortus Cliffortianus (Amsterdam, 1737), p. 396. The name may have been suggested to Linnaeus by the resemblance of his Ageratum conyzoides to some species of Eupatorium, which, in pre-Linnaean nomenclature, were also called Ageratum; specifically, the plant now known as Achillea ageratum, which may have been the ancients' ageraton, was called by herbalists both Ageratum and Eupatorium mesues (e.g., in Joseph Miller's Botanicum officinale, or a Compendious Herbal, London, 1722, p. 18). In Genera Plantarum, 2. ed. (p. 392), Linnaeus notes that he departs from previous application of the name ("Aliud est Ageratum Boerhaavii, quod partim ad Achillæas, partim ad Tanaceta spectat"). In Dioscorides' account of the plant in Greek, agḗraton is so called because the flowers keep their form for a long time.


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