• noun the part of the stamen of a flower that produces pollen

Origin & History of “anther”

Greek ánthos originally meant ‘part of a plant which grows above ground’ (this was the basis of the Homeric ‘metaphor’ translated as ‘flower of youth’, which originally referred to the first growth of beard on young men’s faces). Later it narrowed somewhat to ‘flower’. The adjective derived from it was anthērós, which was borrowed into Latin as anthēra, a noun meaning ‘medicine made from flowers’. In practice, herbalists often made such medicines from the reproductive part of the flower, and so anther came to be applied to the pollen-bearing part of the stamen.

More remote semantically, but also derived from Greek ánthos, is anthology (17th c.). The second element represents Greek logíā ‘collecting’, a derivative of the verb legein ‘gather’ (which is related to legend and logic). The notion of a collection of flowers, anthologíā, was applied metaphorically to a selection of choice epigrams or brief poems: borrowed into English, via French anthologie or medieval Latin anthologia, it was originally restricted to collections of Greek verse, but by the mid 19th century its application had broadened out considerably. The parallel Latin formation, florilegium, also literally ‘collection of flowers’, has occasionally been used in English for ‘anthology’.