Any of various trees or shrubs of the genus Melaleuca, native chiefly to Australia, having aromatic leaves containing essential oils and usually papery white bark.
[New Latin, genus name : Greek melās, black (probably from the black trunks or the black inner bark of some melaleuca species ) + Greek leukos, white; see leuk- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.