1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Palmer

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PALMER, a pilgrim who as a sign or token that he had made pilgrimage to Palestine carried a palm-branch attached to his staff, or more frequently a cross made of two strips of palm-leaf fastened to his hat. The word is frequently used as synonymous with “pilgrim” (see Pilgrimage). The name “palmer” or “palmer-worm” is often given to many kinds of hairy caterpillars, specifically to that of the destructive tineid moth, Ypsilophus pometella. The name is either due to the English use of “palm” for the blossom or catkin of the willow-tree, to which the caterpillars bear some resemblance, or to the wandering pilgrim-like habits of such caterpillars. Artificial flies used in angling, covered with bristling hairs, are known also as “palmers” or “hackles.”