Agri Kultuur September / September 2016 - Page 71

horses as well as for campers. The superstition that only horses and dogs can see ghosts resulted in the Afrikaans name “perdespook” for Bushman poison bulb (Boophone disticha). This name was given because horses are sometimes frightened by dried inflorescence (clusters of flowers) of the Bushman poison bulb that the wind blows across the veld. A common name that immediately evokes images of a kraal is “misbredie” or pigweed for several species of Amaranthus, as the plants are generally found in sheltered places in kraals where they germinate from seed contained in the droppings of animals that fed on the plants. The leaves of most species are used to make a stew; in Sesotho and Setswana the “misbredie”-plant is c alled “marago”. Plant names with their origin in the wine industry include “misblom” or March lily (Amaryllis belladonna) and “misrybol” or April fool (Haemanthus coccineus). Plants of both species flower from March to April when the wine farmers commenced carting manure into the vineyards. Stories about farmers who acquired undying fame after letting plants get out of hand on their land, are found in common names such as Klaaslouw bush (Athanasia crithmifolia subsp. crithmifolia) and the alien weed Pietjielaport (Athanasia crithmifolia). An alien introduced from Europe inherited the name of “boetebossie” or burweed (Xanthium spinosum). The name for this plant spread as fast as this phenomenal weed itself. The name symbolizes the frustration associated with weed control. Despite fines being levied since 1860, the weed could not be eradicated. “Vernietbossie”, an uncommon and local name for this tenacious weed, reflects one of the humorous aspects of weed control – the Afrikaans expression goes “dit is verniet of jy hom kan keer” which translates to no matter what you do, it (the spreading of the plant) can’t be stopped. However, the psychological property of penance (“boete”) evoked by the name “boetebossie” was too deep-seated and the common name persisted. References: Smith, Christo Albertyn. (1966). The Common Names of South African Plants. Botanical Research Institute of the Department of Agricultural Technical Services: Pretoria. Swart, Madine. (2016). Flora se Geheime Taal – Stories van Suider-Afrikaanse Plante. Strandveld Boeke: Strand.