mopani, mopane, noun

Forms:
mapani, maponeShow more Also mapani, mapone, mopaane, mopané, mopanie, m’pani, mupani.
Plurals:
unchanged, or mopanis.
Origin:
seTswana, VendaShow more seTswana mopane (Venda mupani).
1. In full mopani tree: a. a tree of the Eastern Transvaal and North-West Province, Colophospermum mopane of the Caesalpiniaceae, distinguished by rough, flaking bark, pale green flowers, and butterfly-shaped leaves formed of a pair of triangular leaflets joined at the base, which fold together in intense heat; turpentine tree. b. The hard, dark-red wood of this tree. Also attributive.
1857 D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 91In some parts there are forests of mimosa and mopane.
1864 T. Baines Explor. in S.-W. Afr. 427We rattled on over hard limestone country, thickly clothed with mopánēs.
1871 J. Mackenzie Ten Yrs N. of Orange River 140We at length found in a large mopane forest a well-beaten path.
1887 A.A. Anderson 25 Yrs in Waggon I. 229Many of the mapani-trees grow to a great size; the leaf has a sweet gummy sort of varnish, of which the elephants are very fond.
1896 H.A. Bryden Tales of S. Afr. 136A low growth of parched mopani trees..whose odd butterfly-like leaves, now shrivelled and scorched..bore eloquent testimony to the nature of this terrible ‘thirst-land.’
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 59Mopane, Copaifera Mopane. A social tree of northern Bechuanaland and Rhodesia.
1929 J. Stevenson-Hamilton Low-Veld 36The widely distributed mopani (Copaifera mopani); thornless and with a large scented double leaf.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 41A belt of mupani..the trees very beautiful, their smooth, green leaves giving them the semblance of miniature English beeches.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 173As a fodder tree the mopane plays a vitally important role in these areas of low rainfall...Most of the mopane in the Union are no higher than 15 feet.
1968 L.G. Green Full Many Glorious Morning 188A comfortable house of mopani logs and thatch.
1968 L.G. Green Full Many Glorious Morning 190This is the mopane country, a tree named because each leaf resembles a butterfly with outstretched wings. (Mopane means butterfly).
1978 S. Afr. Digest 3 Nov. 1The area, which stretches towards the Botswana border about 90 km to the west, is covered with thick bush and massive mopani trees.
1985 Style Oct. 92So begins our odyssey...days spent traversing a kaleidoscopic landscape of semi-arid vegetation dotted with acacia, mopane, boabab and thorn trees.
1988 [see umbrella thorn].
2. Used attributively, in the phrases mopani bush, mopani bushveld, mopani country, mopani veld, etc., a bush- or veld-type characterized by large numbers of mopani trees.
1928 E.H.L. Schwarz Kalahari & its Native Races 62This is good grass, not like that of the mopane veld which withers and blows away.
1937 M. Alston Wanderings 159The eighteen mile drive..through the green and gold and copper-coloured mopani bush was a delight.
1946 S. Cloete Afr. Portraits 87The country became more and more inhospitable as the mopani scrub gave way to rocks.
1949 C. Bullock Rina 41Mupani veld, the most sodden in summer, is dry as a baked brick until the rains come.
1951 T.V. Bulpin Lost Trails of Low Veld 266The hundred-mile long by fifty-mile wide stretch of flat mopani bush land lying between the Letaba River..in the south and the Great Limpopo River in the north.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 342The species (sc. Colophospermum mopane) grows socially in large numbers in the areas in which it occurs and has given the name ‘mopane veld’ to such areas.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 459East Coast fever is said to be unknown in Mopani veld.
1977 S. Stander Flight from Hunter 159Gradually the landscape changed, from grass plain to the mopani scrub they had encountered in the north and then to belts of mopani forest.
1980 E. Prov. Herald 1 Aug. 13Low rainfall produces short-lived flushes of sparse grass among mopane scrublands and jesse-bush thickets.
1988 S. Afr. Panorama MayThe hunting-grounds vary from red Kalahari dunes in the north-west Cape to grassy plains in the Free State, mopani bushveld and savannah in the Transvaal lowveld and baobab country beyond the Soutpansberg in the far north.
3. combinations
mopani bee, any of several small, stingless bees of the genus Trigona (family Apidae);
mopani beetle, some unknown cicada;
mopani fly, see mopani bee;
mopani worm, the caterpillar of the emperor-moth Gonimbrasia belina of the Saturniidae, which feeds on the mopani tree and is used as food particularly by the Tswana peoples; bosveld garnaal, see bosveld sense 3; bushveld prawn, see bushveld sense 3; see also masonja.
[1857mopani bee: D. Livingstone Missionary Trav. 614The bees were always found in the natural cavities of mopane-trees.]
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 303The M’Pani bee does not sting.
1954 S.H. Skaife Afr. Insect Life 357The stingless bees, or Mopani bees, as they are often called, that are found in Africa, belong to the genus Trigona.
1988 T.J. Lindsay Shadow (1990) 14Mupani bees..collected in worrisome clouds.
1972 L. Van der Post Story like Wind 161At about ten in the morning..all the billions of mopani beetles, hidden behind the butterfly leaves of the trees, began to sing their Messiah to the day.
1972 C. Britz Informant, NamibiaHoney from the mopane trees — made by mopane flies, which are like miniature bees — they don’t sting. They make small combs in the hollow mopane trees...It tastes different — not quite the same as bee’s honey, a wilder, sweeter taste.
1979 Daily Dispatch 14 Mar. 9Reality here was clouds of dust, swarms of mopani flies and mosquitoes.
1974 E. Prov. Herald 6 MayWhen we were in the bundu on a safari, everything was served with stywepap — even mopani worms.
1980 S. Afr. Panorama July 32The dishes included grilled mopani worms in onions and tomato — as an accompanying dish — with stiff maize porridge.
1986 Scholtz & Holm Insects 381The larvae of many of the large species of Saturniidae are favoured by African tribes as relishes, e.g. the mopane ‘worm’ Gonimbrasia belina.
1986 C. O’Toole Encycl. of Insects 101The larva of the Mopane moth is..an attractive caterpillar with bright red, yellow and black markings on a white background...‘Mopane worms’ are often sold dried, and they have a rather nutty flavour.
1987 J. Quest Burning River 67I’m so hungry I’d eat any number of mopani worms and lizards.
1990 G. Mokae in Frontline Sept. 28We may partake of delicacies that seem odd to white eyes, like mopani worms and horse meat.
a tree of the Eastern Transvaal and North-West Province, Colophospermum mopane of the Caesalpiniaceae, distinguished by rough, flaking bark, pale green flowers, and butterfly-shaped leaves formed of a pair of triangular leaflets joined at the base, which fold together in intense heat; turpentine tree.
The hard, dark-red wood of this tree. Also attributive.
a bush- or veld-type characterized by large numbers of mopani trees.
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18571990