naras, noun

Forms:
nara, !naraShow more Also nara, !nara, 'nara, 'naras, !naras, narra.
Origin:
Khoikhoi
A leafless, spiny, prostrate shrub of the Namib desert, Acanthosicyos horrida of the Cucurbitaceae; the large melon-like fruit of this plant, which provides both food and drink; Wonder of the Waste, see wonder sense 1. Also attributive.
1838 J.E. Alexander Exped. into Int. II. 67We found the new fruit ’naras of which I had first heard from the Boschmans of Ababies. The ’naras was growing on little knolls of sand; the bushes were about four or five feet high, without leaves, and with apposite thorns on the light and dark green striped branches.
1841 J.E. Alexander in B. Shaw Memorials 162After allaying our hunger and thirst with some ripe ’naras, the entire support of the Bay people, for two or three..months,..we continued our march among the sand hills.
1853 F. Galton Narr. of Explorer in Tropical S. Afr. 21I have mentioned above the ’Nara, a prickly gourd, which..is the staple food of these Hottentots.
1856 C.J. Andersson in F. Goldie Ostrich Country (1968) Ostriches are at all times more or less numerous on the Naarip Plain, but more particularly so at this season, on account of the Naras being now ripe (Naras being a kind of desert water-melon).
1881 T. Hahn Tsuni-‖Goam 47ǃNaras. — This fruit is a Cucurbitacea, almost as large as a new-born child’s head. The flesh of it is eaten raw, and the seeds are kept for the dry season, when there is no fruit. The seeds taste almost like almonds.
1889 F. Galton Trav. in S. Afr. 11The ’Nara, with long runners, covered numerous sand hillocks. [Note] The comma before N means that the letter is preceded by a Hottentot click.
1894 R. Marloth in Trans. of S. Afr. Phil. Soc. p.lxxxivThe ‘Naras’ (Acanthosicyos horrida).
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 276The western coast strip is a weird desert producing..the naras, or Acanthosicyos horrida.
1916 W. Versveld & G.F. Britten in S. Afr. Jrnl of Science XII. vi. 234 (title)Notes on the chemistry of the !Naras plant (Acanthosicyos horrida Hook).
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 60Naras, Acanthosicyos horrida. A remarkable cucurbitaceous leafless plant on some dunes of the Namib..where subterranean water exists, even if brackish and at great depth.
1926 M. Nathan S. Afr. from Within 216Even the desert flora is full of interest, containing species which are rare, curious or beneficial such as..the narra which grows in the sand-dunes of the western coast, and, with its fattening properties is the only plant of economic value.
1930 I. Schapera KhoiSan Peoples 22There is the !naras melon, whose fruit is sufficiently succulent to provide a substitute for water.
1946 L.G. Green So Few Are Free 165The Hottentots rely on a strange desert plant for nourishment. This is the narra...The ripe narra is full of edible seeds, which are treated in many ways by the Hottentots. Boiled, they make a porridge. Tough pancakes are formed by the narra fluid and stored for months. Narra beer may be brewed from the syrupy juice.
1959 G. Jenkins Twist of Sand 267The trails of naras creeper would provide some sort of fuel.
1961 O. Levinson Ageless Land 12The straggling..thorny bush, called Naras or ‘Wonder of the Waste’..is found nowhere else in the world. In its battle with Nature, this pumpkin plant has ceased to grow any leaves at all, their function being fulfilled by big green thorns; while its main root searches hungrily for moisture some twenty to forty feet underground.
1972 I.C. Verdoorn in Std Encycl. of Sn Afr. V. 82Naras,..This fruit is eaten fresh or is buried, and so preserved for future use. A sugar beer is made of the pulp, and the seeds when roasted are relished as nuts...Another method of utilising the fruits is to boil the entire contents in a pot and..pressing the pulp into flat cakes. These are dried in the sun and later used for making a kind of soap.
1977 K.F.R. Budack in A. Traill Khoisan Ling. Studies 3 4The annual harvesting of the !nara fruit.
1988 A. Hall-Martin et al. Kaokoveld 4Plants such as the dollar bush.., the low-growing coastal ganna..and narra (Acanthosicyos horrida) have an extensive root system under the sand which helps to stabilise the dune hummocks.
A leafless, spiny, prostrate shrub of the Namib desert, Acanthosicyos horrida of the Cucurbitaceae; the large melon-like fruit of this plant, which provides both food and drink; Wonder of the Waste, see wonder1. Also attributive.
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18381988