1706, from L., where it was the name of a flower (Pliny), from Gk. phlox
"kind of plant with showy flowers" (probably Silene vulgaris
), lit. "flame," related to phlegein
"to burn" (see bleach
). Applied to the N.Amer. flowering plant by Ger. botanist Johann Jakob Dillenius (1684-1747).