The word Flecktarn comes from the German words Fleck (spot) and Tarnung (camouflage). The term was coined by German designers in the 1970s during the Bundeswehr Truppenversuch 76, or German Army Uniform Trials of 1976. Several patterns were tested during the trials, but the one ultimately selected for general issue to the German Armed Forces was Flecktarnmuster (spot camouflage pattern), finally confirmed in 1989. Some evidence suggests that the original Flecktarn camouflage was developed by Marquardt and Schultz in cooperation with the French company Texunion. Flecktarn is often misspelled Flectarn or Flecktar in some circles, and some of the derivatives are simply called "dots" pattern.
Flecktarn-like camouflage designs have been adopted by a number of other countries beside Germany. It has been suggested by some that the Flecktarn design may have been influenced by the German WW2 "pea pattern" (Erbsenmuster), but there is little evidence to substantiate such a claim. The original German Flecktarn is a five-color pattern incorporating black, reddish-brown, dark olive and medium olive green spots on a moss green background. A desert version (referred to initially as Tropentarn but later as Wüstentarn) originally introduced in 1993 incorporates sparse dark olive & reddish-brown spots on yellow-tan background.