A genus of flowering plants, now restricted to certain South African shrubs of the family Melianthaceae, but formerly apparently interpreted more widely; (also melianthus) a plant of this genus.
Valid publication of the genus name: Linnaeus Species Plantarum (1753) II. 639.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in Philip Miller (1691–1771), horticulturist and writer. From scientific Latin Melianthus (J. Pitton de TournefortInst. Rei Herbariae I. 430) from ancient Greek μέλι honey + ἄνθος flower.