dahlia (n.)

1804, named 1791 by Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles for Anders Dahl (1751-1789), Swedish botanist and pupil of Linnaeus, who discovered it in Mexico in 1788. The likelihood that a true blue variety of the flower never could be cultivated was first proposed by French-Swiss botanist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, and noted in English by 1835; hence blue dahlia, figurative expression for "something impossible or unattainable" (1843).

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