AfrikaansShow more Afrikaans, steek to prick, stab + gras grass.
A general term for grasses (family Poaceae) which are characterized by sharp awns which cling to wool, fabric, etc.: a.Any of several species of Aristida (sub-family Arundinoideae);see also Bushman grass.b.Heteropogon contortus (sub-family Andropogonodae); assegainoun sense 3. In both senses also called stick-grass. Also attributive, and (obsolete) partial translation of steekgrass.
1893W. Spilhaus inJ. NobleIllust. Off. Handbk of Cape & S. Afr. 314A year or two ago the Colony was troubled with a particularly obnoxious seed, that of the ‘steekgrass’ (Andropogon contortus, Ness, and Aristida congesta, R. and T.).
1896R. WallaceFarming Indust. of Cape Col. 99‘Steek-grass’ is the colonial name applied to a number of species of the natural order Gramineae, having long sharp awns attached to their seeds, by which they adhere to the wool of sheep.
1906F. BlerschHandbk of Agric. 258The burr weed.., steek gras, thorny mesembryanthemum,..karroo thorn..become injurious by their getting into and spoiling wool and hair, though the steek gras (Aristida and Andropogon) and the mimosa at times form valuable food.
1910A.B. LamontRural Reader 257Steek grass is one of the most troublesome grasses.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 474Steekgras,..Aristida barbicollis...The seeds of this grass have sharp barbed awns attached to them by which they cling to the wool of sheep, work their way through the skin, and set up considerable irritation. Andropogon contortus..is also a steekgras, but is not the common one.
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