Agri Kultuur September / September 2016 - Page 70

spired the common name plough-breaker or harrow-breaker for Erythrina zeyheri. The name refers to the large tuberous rootstock which damaged the ploughs that the farmers used to prepare the soil. The Afrikaans name “kouteriebos” (Cotyledon orbiculata) possibly refers to the manner in which the plants pack up against the colter (“kouter”) of a plough. Some common names such as ”ploegtydblommetjie” or autumn star (Empodium plicatum) and January bush (Gnidia polycephala) indicate specific times on the calendar. The vernacular name January bush is in reference to the uselessness of the plant as pasturage, because it is believed that the species is poisonous to livestock. The naming is connected to a belief that originated in the North West Province: according to this belief a person born in the month of January is considered to be useless. Hopefully there are some exceptions to prove those from the North West wrong! Another common name from the North West is “trassiebos” or candlepod thorn (Vachellia hebeclada subsp. hebeclada). The vernacular prefix “trassie” is related to the original Khoikhoi word “tarras” – a woman or hermaphrodite. This was in common use by sheep farmers in the Kalahari for a hermaphroditic animal and they applied the same word to the plants in a figurative sense. Livestock are liberally represented in common names of South African plants such as “beestonge” or oxtongues (Gasteria spp.), “bokspoortjie” or hoof mesemb (Cheiridopsis spp.), “skaaptongetjie” or little sheep's tongue (Titanopsis calcarea) and “kalkoentjie” or little turkey (Gladiolus alatus). “Perdetande” or horse teeth (Haworthia truncata) is a vernacular name that will warm the hearts of horse lovers; there is an extraordinary resemblance between the plant and the teeth of the animal. “Perdekapok” or horse snow (Lanaria lanata) is used as bedding for