AfrikaansShow more Afrikaans, slang snake + kop head (see quotation 1966).
Any of several species of plant of the Liliaceae and Amaryllidaceae which are highly poisonous to livestock. Also attributive.See also gifbol.
1896R. WallaceFarming Indust. of Cape Col. 96One species of tulp, under the name of ‘slangkop’ (snake head), or poison onion, Ornithoglossum glaucum, Sal., which comes up in September and disappears in December, is particularly prevalent and destructive in the vicinity of Mafeking.
1905D. Hutcheon inFlint & GilchristScience in S. Afr. 355‘Slangkop,’ Ornithoglossum glaucum Sallisb. — This is another bulbous plant which is found over a large area of South Africa. When eaten by stock, it produces similar effects to those produced by ‘Tulp,’ more especially on sheep who eat it readily when young.
1929J. Stevenson-HamiltonLow-Veld 19Cattle are subject to a variety of ills, mainly due to ticks, and those animals not indigenous to the Low-Veld are often fatally poisoned by a weed known as slangkop, from its resemblance to a snake’s head.
1929Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric.) 201We distinguish between the Transvaal Slangkop (Urginea Burkei), the Natal slangkop (Urginea macrocentra), and the Cape slangkop (Ornithoglossum glaucum).
1930Outspan 31 Oct. 69‘Chincherinchee,’ which often finds its way into forage, ‘gifblaar,’ the various ‘tulps’ and ‘slangkops,’ are all responsible at different seasons and in different areas for considerable mortality among stock.
1937Handbk for Farmers (Dept of Agric. & Forestry) 453Slangkop Group of Plants (Liliaceae and Amaryllidaceae).
1936W.B. Humphreys inHansard 10 Mar. 1007This poisonous plant, which is coarsely called vermeerbos, covers a vast area, a greater area than prickly pear or jointed cactus, slangkop or gifblaar.
1966C.A. SmithCommon Names 423Slangkop, The name most generally heard for Ornithoglossum viride, Urginea burkei and U. macrocentra, all highly toxic to stock...They are usually referred to as slangkop..from some resemblance of the inflorescence as it rises from the bulb to a snake’s head.
1989F.G. ButlerTales from Old Karoo 81The poisonous tulp after which the farm was named was not in bloom, but the slangkop was — dozens of yellow racemes on long stalks like cobras’ heads, swaying.
1989J. du P. BothmaGame Ranch Management 189Springbok proved to be the most resistant to slangkop poisoning of all animals tested.
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