shellflower

shellflower

[shel-flou-er]
noun
1.
an eastern Asian plant, Alpinia zerumbet, of the ginger family, having pendulous clusters of fragrant white flowers with variegated markings.
3.
any of several other plants with flowers or parts thought to resemble shells, as those of the genus Tigridia.

Origin:
1835–45; shell + flower

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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shellflower

any of about 250 species of plants in the genus Alpinia of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), native to warm climates of Asia and Polynesia. They have gingerlike rhizomes (underground stems) and grow to 6 m (20 feet). Their leaves are long-bladed and leathery. The flower petals form a shortened tube with three teeth and a large labellum (two fused stamens), giving an orchidlike appearance. The fragrant flowers of pink, yellow, or white are borne in dense, long clusters

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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