genus of fresh-water algae, 1798, from Latin volvere "to roll," from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve." So called from their motion.
c. 1400, from Latin ficus "fig, fig tree" (see fig). With capital letter, as the name of a large genus of trees and shrubs, chosen by Linnaeus (1753).
cactus genus, 1730, from Latin cereus "waxen, waxy," from cera "wax" (see cero-). So called from its shape, which suggests a wax candle.
ape genus including the orangutan; 1620s as the name of a large anthropoid ape of Africa, from Kongo (Bantu) mpongi. The name later was transferred to the orangutans of Borneo (1798). Related: Pongoid.
1915, with -iasis + trichomonas, genus of a family of flagellate parasites, from tricho-, Latinized form of Greek trikho-, combining form of thrix (genitive trikhos) "hair" + -monas.
shrub genus, 1757, Modern Latin, named for Scottish-born American naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Vice President of the Royal Society, + abstract noun ending -ia.
genus of mosses, peat-moss, 1741, Modern Latin, from Latin sphagnos, a kind of lichen, from Greek sphagnos "a spiny shrub, a kind of moss," of unknown origin. Related: Sphagnous.
genus of Mexican salamanders, 1786, from Spanish, from Nahuatl, literally "servant of water," from atl "water" + xolotl "slippery or wrinkled one, servant, slave" [see Frances Karttunen, "An Analytical Dictionary of Nahuatl"].
extinct genus of gigantic mammals, 1877, Modern Latin, from Greek brontē "thunder" (probably imitative) + Greek thērion "beast, wild beast, hunted animal" (from PIE root *ghwer- "wild beast").