steekgras, noun

Origin:
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); assegai noun sense 3. In both senses also called stick-grass. Also attributive, and (obsolete) partial translation of steekgrass.
1893 W. Spilhaus in J. Noble Illust. 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.).
1896 R. Wallace Farming 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.
1906 F. Blersch Handbk 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.
1910 A.B. Lamont Rural Reader 257Steek grass is one of the most troublesome grasses.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 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.
1918 J.W. Bews Grasses & Grasslands of S. Afr. 114A. congesta (Steek gras) is dominant over immense stretches of primitive Veld in the Free State.
1958 R.E. Lighton Out of Strong 62If I wear socks the sharp grass seeds, like those of the steekgras, stick into them. When I walk I must stop to pull them out where they hurt me.
1986 Farmer’s Weekly 25 July 14In the legume pastures again the steekgras grasses increased.
1987 J. Munday Grasses, Grains & Conservation 32Steekgras, any species of Aristida.
Any of several species of Aristida (sub-family Arundinoideae);
Heteropogon contortus (sub-family Andropogonodae); assegainoun3. In both senses also called stick-grass. Also attributive, and (obsolete) partial translation of steekgrass.
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18931987