bitter apple, noun phrase

Origin:
English, South African DutchShow more Transferred use of English bitter apple a name for the European species Citrullus colocynthis; or translation of South African Dutch bitterappel.
1. obsolete. tsamma.
1862 Harvey & Sonder Flora Capensis II. 493Citrullus,..C. vulgaris...Hab. In the sands of the Cape downs..and of similar localities...Pepo the size of an apple or of a child’s head. When edible or sweet it is called water-melon or Kaffir water-melon; when bitter, it is the bitter apple or wild water-melon of the colonists.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 61Bitter apple,..This name is also given to Citrullus vulgaris.
2. Any of several shrubs of the Solanaceae bearing bitter fruits shaped like small apples, especially Solanum aculeastrum and S. hermannii; gifappel sense 2.
1911 E. London Dispatch 31 Aug. (Pettman)The bush commonly known as snake-berry or bitter apple.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 61Bitter apple, The fruit of several species of Solanaceae are so called.
1953 J. Hoyle Some Flowers of Bush 32The Bitter Apple is found all over Africa.
1970 M.R. Levyns in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. II. 349Bitter Apple, Apple of Sodom. Gifappel. (S. sodonaeum [sic] var. hermanii; Solanum aculeastrum) The popular names apply to both these species.
1983 M.M. Kidd Cape Peninsula 128Solanum hermanii (=S. sodomaeum var. hermanii). Solanaceae. Apple of Sodom, Bitter Apple, Gifappel. A branching shrub up to 1m.
tsamma.
Any of several shrubs of the Solanaceae bearing bitter fruits shaped like small apples, especially Solanum aculeastrum and S. hermannii; gifappel2.

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18621983