ironwood, noun

Origin:
South African Dutch, DutchShow more Translation of South African Dutch ysterhout, from Dutch yster iron + hout wood.
a. Any of several trees characterized by their very hard wood, especially species of Olea, Millettia, and Vepris; the timber itself; iron; yzer; yzer hout. Also attributive. See also umzimbeet.
Note:
‘Ironwood’ is also in general English use, as a name for other species.
1693 Phil. Trans. of Royal Soc. XVII. 621An Ironwood from the Cape.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 248Sideroxilum Africanum, Cerasi folio. i.e. African Iron-wood, with a Cherry Leaf. This Wood is so call’d because, when dry, ’tis as hard as Iron, and not to be clove by the most furious Strokes with the Hatchet.
1804 R. Percival Acct of Cape of G.H. 148The iron wood, or yezer hout, is very common, and grows very high. The wood is hard, heavy, and of a dark brown colour.
1836 A.F. Gardiner Journey to Zoolu Country 238A wood of very handsome trees, chiefly umzani, and what are known in the Colony by the name of sneeze and iron-wood.
1850 J.E. Methley New Col. of Port Natal 31There is also the ironwood (olea undulata), which for its hard grain and durability is used for the axles of waggons.
1859 R.J. Mann Col. of Natal 157The hardest and toughest of the woods of Natal is that known under the native name ‘Umsimbiti’ (iron-wood).
1870 C. Hamilton Life & Sport in S.-E. Afr. 6The wheels are made of the famous Natal wood called ‘umsimbiti’ or ironwood, from its strength and durability.
1916 Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1456Wagons. Hand-made Buckwagons, made from the best seasoned Colonial Hardwoods, Stinkwood, Assegai, Ironwood and Hickory.
1919 Dunell, Ebden & Co.’s Price List Aug. 35Disselbooms. Ironwood.
1936 E. Rosenthal Old-Time Survivals 10Ironwood, a type of rare African timber so heavy that it will not float in water, was (and is) selected for the ‘onderstel’ or under-frame.
1973 E. Prov. Herald 28 May 13Wake up..to the smell of a smouldering ironwood fire and old ash.
1990 Weekend Post 14 July (Leisure) 4He makes to order from popular woods like stinkwood, oak and imbuia, and wild woods like ironwood and wild pear.
b. With distinguishing epithet:
bastard ironwood [see Bastard adjective], Olea capensis L. subspecies capensis of the Oleaceae;
black ironwood, (a)O. capensis L. subspecies macrocarpa; (b) less commonly, the kershout (sense 2), Rothmannia capensis;
bushveld ironwood, O. capensis L. subspecies enervis;
white ironwood, (a) Vepris lanceolata of the Rutaceae; (b) the umzimbeet, Millettia grandis.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 49Bastard ironwood, Olea foveolata, a common South African forest tree.
1988 Conserva Oct. 28The bark of the bastard ironwood is dark grey with white and black patches, longitudinally striated, and becomes corky and rough with age. The wood is dull grey-brown, close-grained and very hard and heavy.
1796 C.R. Hopson tr. of C.P. Thunberg’s Trav. II. 109Black iron wood (Zwarte Ysterhout, Gardenia Rothmannia) is hard and strong; it is used for axle-trees and the poles of waggons.
1955 A. Delius Young Trav. in S. Afr. 114The most abundant is the black ironwood. They call it that on account of the toughness of its timber.
1988 H. Goosen in S. Afr. Panorama Aug. 49The black ironwood, O. capensis subsp. macrocarpa, reaches a height of 40 m and grows in indigenous forests from the Transvaal to the Cape Province. The false ironwood, O. capensis subsp. capensis, and the bushveld ironwood, O. capensis subsp. enervis, also prefer wooded areas.
1989 Conserva Vol.4 No.4, 22Olea capensis subsp. enervis. Bushveld ironwood. It has not been possible to germinate this seed.
1843 J.C. Chase Cape of G.H. 160Iron Wood; black and white.
1891 R. Smith Great Gold Lands 179Perhaps it may be useful to say what the timber-yielding plants of Natal are. The best known are..black iron-wood, an olive (Olea latifolia); white iron-wood, allied to the rues.
1902 G.S. Boulger Wood 335Umzimbit..Known also as ‘White Ironwood’.
1951 N.L. King Tree-Planting 71Vepris (Toddalia) lanceolata (White ironwood), A medium- to large-sized, evergreen tree with pretty foliage.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 274The white ironwood is found in most of the forests of the Union as a tall evergreen tree; or in open forest or scrub as a spreading tree or bush.
1989 E. Prov. Herald 25 Feb. 5The ‘Cape chestnut’ is..one of the several South African members of the citrus family. Others are the knobwoods, the white ironwood and the buchu bushes.
Any of several trees characterized by their very hard wood, especially species of Olea, Millettia, and Vepris; the timber itself; iron; yzer; yzer hout. Also attributive.
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