nounhistorical, rare Botany
Each of several plants formerly placed in a small genus Adelaster but now placed in the genus Fittonia (family Acanthaceae), comprising small South American plants sold elsewhere as indoor pot plants for their foliage. Also (in form Adelaster): the former genus itself.
Although the genus Adelaster was not formally abolished until 1980 the name, introduced in 1861, had little currency after 1870, partly because it was long regarded (incorrectly) as invalidly published and the name Fittonia was preferred. For the history and background of the genus see R. K. Brummitt in Taxon (1978) 27 307–9.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Magazine Horticulture. From scientific Latin Adelaster, genus name from ancient Greek ἄδηλος not evident, unseen + ἀστέρ-, ἀστήρ star.