ganna, noun

canna, channaShow more Also canna, channa, ghanna, gona, gouna, kanna.
KhoikhoiShow more Etymology obscure: perhaps from Khoikhoi, cf. !khan (see kanna noun3), koŋ (see kanna noun2).
The variety of spelling forms arises from the pronunciation of the Afrikaans. ‘ganna’ as /ˈkana/, /-nə/ by English-speakers.
1. In full gannabos, gannabossie, gannabush, ganna-shrub, formerly also gannabosch, ganna-bosje [Afrikaans, bos, bossie (earlier bosch, bosje see boschje) bush]: any of several plant species of the genus Salsola (family Chenopodiaceae), especially S. aphylla (also called brak ganna, lye ganna or seepganna, see sense 2 below). Also attributive. See also brakbos.
The ashes of this plant form a white caustic alkali, formerly used in soap-making. See also soap bush.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 296There is another shrub frequently found in the Carrow, called Canna-bosch.
1786 G. Forster tr. of A. Sparrman’s Voy. to Cape of G.H. I. 297Having examined this..Canna-shrub I formed a new species of salsola...The leaves have a bitter salt taste.
1795 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. I. 199At this farm they made soap from a ley, prepared from the Canna bush (Salsola aphylla).
1806 J. Barrow Trav. I. 42The plant alluded to was a species of salsola or salt-wort...It is known to the country-people by the Hottentot name of Canna and is that plant from the ashes of which almost all the soap, that is used in the colony, is made.
1812 A. Plumptre tr. of H. Lichtenstein’s Trav. in Sn Afr. (1928) I. 124Children and slaves collect the young shoots of the Channa bushes.
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 267The Kanna-bosch (written Ganna by the Dutch) may probably have been considered as the favourite food of the Kanna(sc. the eland).
1822 W.J. Burchell Trav. I. 419In many places grew abundance of Kannabosch (Kanna-bush), which I had now learnt to consider as an indication of a good soil of some depth, though not always free from a brackish quality.
1824 W.J. Burchell Trav. II. 113Formerly the alkali necessary for this manufacture (sc. of soap), was obtained here from the Ganna (or Kanna-)bosch; but that being..all consumed through a constant demand for it, another species of Salsola..was taken as a substitute.
1834 T. Pringle Afr. Sketches 305Along the course of the Ghamka there was..a narrow fringe of mimosa trees, with occasional tracts of alluvial soil thickly covered with ghanna, a species of salsola, the ashes of which form a pure white caustic alkali, generally used by the colonists for making soap.
[1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 319The alkali is produced from a species of Salsola or saltwort, called by the Hottentots Canna.]
1844 J. Backhouse Narr. of Visit 112This country is called the Little Karroo, or Kanneland; from its producing a bush abounding with soda called Kannabosch, Caroxylon Salsola.
1861 P.B. Borcherds Auto-Biog. Mem. 52The plants in this part of the country are commonly thorny, and among the heaths is the ‘Kanna Bush,’ the ashes of which are very serviceable in soap-boiling.
1868 J. Chapman Trav. I. 375The ‘gona, or soap-bush,’ from the ash of which..the ley for soap boiling is made.
1907 T.R. Sim Forests & Forest Flora 14On the rich alluvial soil along the dry river beds there are..occasional trees of mimosa.., Karreeboom.., Blaauwbosch..; where water occasionally runs these sometimes form thickets, thickened by Gannabush (Salsola).
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 191Gona, This appears to be a corruption of Kanna...I have heard the bush referred to spoken of by the same individual by both names almost in the same breath.
1927 C.G. Botha Social Life in Cape Col. 101For the manufacture of the soap a shrub called the gannabosch (salsola aphylla) was used by burning it to ash from which lye was boiled.
1948 H.V. Morton In Search of S. Afr. 257The loved by sheep.
1955 L.G. Green Karoo 133The gannabos, with its rich green leaves, flourishes in the brak soil. Sheep and goats love it, and it supplies the ashes which help to make soap on the farm.
1968 K. McMagh Dinner of Herbs 30I crack the bones and cook them up for the fat in them and of this I boil soap. There are plenty of ganna bossies in the veld to burn for lye.
1972 L.G. Green When Journey’s Over 59A tent wagon, a strong team of oxen, a legplek with plenty of grass in season, kannabos for soap-boiling and a sound flock of long-tailed sheep.
1974 Farmer’s Weekly 2 Feb.Grazing consists of healthy Karoo bushes, brak, ganna.
1979 E. & F. Bradlow (tr. of P.B. Borcherds’s letter) in Somerville’s Narr. of E. Cape Frontier 206Vegetation is mostly thorny and of little use, except one thorntree, a certain shrub generally known as a Kannabos from which a clear, pure gum flows which is burnt and the ashes are used in the manufacture of soap.
1979 E. & F. Bradlow (tr. of P.B. Borcherds’s letter) in Somerville’s Narr. of E. Cape Frontier 207Plenty of Gannabosjes to continue his soap-making in winter.
1986 Style July 94It is called the Swartland because of the charcoal-coloured bush, the kanna bush, that used to grow abundantly in these parts.
1987 M. Poland Train to Doringbult 42The kannabos on the rock cleft clenching the fissures with its roots.
1988 A. Hall-Martin et al. Kaokoveld 4Plants such as..the low-growing coastal ganna (Salsola aphylla)..have an extensive root system.
1989 F.G. Butler Tales from Old Karoo 34As he walked over the first stream the stick took no notice, but as he crossed the second it turned up and gave him such a violent clout right between the eyes that it laid him out cold among the ganna bossies.
2. With distinguishing epithet, designating a particular species of Salsola or Psilocaulon (family Mesembryanthemaceae):
blomkoolganna /ˈblɔmkʊəl-/ [Afrikaans, blomkool cauliflower], S. zeyheri or S. tuberculatiformis;
brak ganna /ˈbrak-/ [Afrikaans, brak salt, salty], S. aphylla;
cattle ganna, S. arborea;
koolganna obsolete [Afrikaans, kool cabbage], S. zeyheri;
lidjes ganna obsolete [Afrikaans litjie, lidjie joint, jointed, from lit joint + dimunitive suffix -ie], P. absimile; see also asbos;
lye ganna, S. aphylla;
rivierganna obsolete [Afrikaans, rivier river, stream], S. glabrescens;
rooi ganna obsolete [Afrikaans, rooi red], S. calluna;
seepganna /ˈsɪəp-/ [Afrikaans, seep soap], S. aphylla;
swartganna /ˈswart-/ [Afrikaans, swart black], S. calluna; also attributive.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 30Ganna, (sometimes pronounced Kanna). Several species of Salsola. The most frequent kind in brackish soil, especially along rivers, is S. aphylla (the Brak-); S. Calluna is the Rooi-, and S. Zeyheri, the Kool- or Blomkool-, the latter a sweet and highly valued fodder-shrub of the central and north-western districts.
1981 J. Vahrmeijer Poisonous Plants of Sn Afr. 62Salsola tuberculatiformis...In spite of its salty or slightly bitter taste the plant is relished by sheep and game...In the past ‘blomkoolganna’ was regarded as a valuable pasture plant.
1983 K.C. Palgrave Trees of Sn Afr. 161Salsola arborea..Cattle ganna.
1932 Farming in S. Afr. Sept. 245 (Swart)The ‘Koolganna’ (Salsola Zeyheri), in Bechuanaland,..marks the farms where there is no pica.
1908 J.M. Orpen Reminisc. 13The lye water was made from the ashes of a bush called lidjes ganna, which grew on the farm.
1983 K.C. Palgrave Trees of Sn Afr. 161Salsola aphylla..Lye ganna.
1931 Farming in S. Afr. Nov. 319 (Swart)It was found that one morgen of Rivierganna (Salsola glabresceus) carried one sheep for eleven months.
1971 L.G. Green Taste of S.-Easter 162Rawlins had gathered samples of other bitter honeys..seepganna honey from a bush that was once used on the farms for soapmaking, and swartganna honey.
any of several plant species of the genus Salsola (family Chenopodiaceae), especially S. aphylla (also called brak ganna, lye ganna or seepganna, see 2 below). Also attributive.
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