stinkwood, noun

South African Dutch, DutchShow more Translation of South African Dutch stinkhout, from Dutch stink smell(ing) + hout wood; see quotation 1731.
a. The protected indigenous tree Ocotea bullata of the Lauraceae, prized for its timber (in full stinkwood tree); the finely-grained, dark, heavy wood of this tree; African oak, see African adjective1 sense 1 b i; Cape mahogany sense (b), also Cape walnut sense (a), see Cape sense 2 a; stinkhout sense a; stinking wood. Also attributive.
A prized wood in furniture, particularly when used in combination with yellowwood.
1731 G. Medley tr. of P. Kolben’s Present State of Cape of G.H. II. 260The Stink-Wood Tree grows to the Size of an Oak. The leaves are of the Breadth of Three fingers. ’Tis call’d Stink-Wood, because it has a filthy Scent. While it is under the Tool, it sends out so nauseous a Stench, that the Workman can hardly endure it. But, after some Time, the Stench goes quite off.
1798 Lady A. Barnard in Lord Lindsay Lives of Lindsays (1849) III. 438I was told of charming woods where the greatest variety of choice timber was to be found — stink-wood, ebony or black-wood, satin-wood, [etc.].
1802 Cape Town Gaz. 16 Aug. 2Stink wood planks, 2 inches, 4 Sch. per foot.
1815 G. Barker Journal. 10 Sept.Spent the sabath at a farm house that was forsaken by its owner & a number of the people belonging to Bethelsdorp..were cutting Stink-wood at a small distance.
1832 Graham’s Town Jrnl 16 Feb. 29 (advt)On Saturday next..will be Sold, in front of the Magistrate’s Office...6 new Cane bottomed stink wood Chairs, a Mahogany Writing Desk.
1849 N.J. Merriman Cape Jrnls (1957) 21The pulpit and reading pew are constructed mainly of stink wood with some beading of sneeze-wood, which has a handsome appearance.
1868 W.H. Harvey Genera of S. Afr. Plants 328O. bullata, Nees, which yields the well-known ‘Stinkwood’ of cabinet makers, is the only Cape species.
1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbk to S. Afr. 351The Stink-wood, sometimes called Cape mahogany, or rather Cape walnut, which latter timber it much resembles, is a most useful and elegant wood for furniture uses when properly seasoned.
1891 R. Smith Great Gold Lands 179Perhaps it may be useful to say what the timber-yielding plants of Natal are. The best known are yellow-wood, a species of yew (Podocarpus elongata);..stink-wood, a laurel (Laurus bullata), [etc.].
1927 C.G. Botha Social Life in Cape Col. 51Early in the eighteenth century mention is made of stinkwood and yellow-wood chairs, tables and bedsteads...The two most common indigenous woods were stinkwood and yellow-wood.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 193You have to stand in a sawmill to smell the powerful stinkwood odour. Fetid when freshly cut, the smell soon becomes aromatic and finally vanishes.
1952 G.M. Mills First Ladies of Cape 42Cupboards, built into the walls, were usually framed by stinkwood and yellow-wood doors which contained silver key-plates.
1970 The 1820 June 7Growing on the slopes of the Outeniquas are the magnificent giant yellow-wood trees, some as old as 1500 years, intermingling with the hard, beautifully grained, but unpleasant smelling stinkwoods.
1977 E. Prov. Herald 3 Mar. 6Sneezewood was nearly wiped..and stinkwood came even closer to extinction...Intensive cutting was stopped in time and the species are regenerating, though very slowly.
1977 Het Suid-Western 19 Oct.Records toppled once again at the indigenous timber auctions...J— Brothers of Knysna paid R3 700 a cubic metre for prime stinkwood, beating last year’s record by R100 and establishing conclusively that stinkwood is the most expensive timber in the world.
1979 Sunday Tribune 3 June 23The slaughter of Stinkwood trees had to be checked nearly 100 years ago and the tree has for a long time been totally protected. Only windfall timber may be sold.
1981 Fair Lady 23 Sept. 172A yellowwood armoire with inlaid patterns in stinkwood and with an unusual pediment, shows an English influence.
1991 S. Welz in Light Yrs Feb. 11A Cape stinkwood and beefwood armoire, dating from the second half of the 18th century.
b. With distinguishing epithet:
bastard stinkwood [see Baster adjective], the protected tree Ocotea kenyensis of the Lauraceae, found in the northern and eastern regions of the country;
black stinkwood, Ocotea bullata (see sense a above);
Camdeboo stinkwood /ˈkæmdəˌbuː -/ [named for a region between Graaff-Reinet and Aberdeen, in the Karoo; Khoikhoi kam green + deboo unknown, perhaps ‘pool in river’ or ‘hollow’], the tree Celtis africana of the Ulmaceae; its wood; Camdeboo; Camdeboo stinkhout, see stinkhout sense b; wit stinkhout, see stinkhout sense b;
cannibal stinkwood obsolete [see quotation 1913], Camdeboo stinkwood (see above);
red stinkwood, the tree Prunus africana of the Rosaceae;
white stinkwood, Camdeboo stinkwood (see above). Also attributive.
1983 K.C. Palgrave Trees of Sn Afr. 176Ocotea kenyensis...Bastard stinkwood.
1990 Flora & Fauna No.47, 10The upper parts of the Hanglip forests contain some fine specimens of the bastard stinkwood Ocotea kenyensis. These differ from the that they lack the conspicuous blisters or bullae on the upper surface of the leaves...They also lack the distinctive but offensive smell of the stinkwood.
1916 Farmer’s Weekly 20 Dec. 1456Yokes, all stapled and rivetted, genuine Black Stinkwood.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 78Stinkhout, The most familiar kind, called Black stinkwood, is Ocotea bullata (Knysna, etc.). Much esteemed for furniture.
c1936 S. & E. Afr. Yr Bk & Guide 320Black Stinkwood or Laurel. A furniture wood.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 129The black stinkwood, or a large evergreen tree found in most of the high forests..and at its best in the Knysna forests...It is a tall straight tree, 60 to 90 feet high.
1979 Sunday Tribune 3 June 23South Africa’s first total survey of indigenous forests on private land has disclosed that Natal’s remaining black stinkwoods have been almost totally destroyed by the depredations of muti hunters.
1980 E. Prov. Herald 18 June 11The Green Heritage Committee has chosen the Black Stinkwood as Tree of the Year for 1980.
1896 R. Wallace Farming Indust. of Cape Col. 132Celtis rhamnifolia, Pres...Camdeboo Stinkwood.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 17Camdeboo stinkwood, Celtis Kraussiana. A tree frequent in wooded ravines and the forests of the coast.
1966 A. Fugard Notebks (1983) 135Unspoiled indigenous bush — massive yellow-woods and Cape fig trees growing beside a little river, Camdeboo stinkwoods, wild gardenias.
1984 S. Afr. Panorama Feb. 38A beautiful indigenous tree used to line city streets is the White, or Camdeboo, Stinkwood (witstinkhout), Celtis africana. It is not related to the well-known Stinkwood (Ocotea bullata).
1988 Farmer’s Weekly 1 Jan. 17The camps have natural shelter and shade from olive wood and camdeboo stinkwood trees.
1859 R.J. Mann Col. of Natal 156There is a variety of this wood, known under the name of the ‘Cannibal stink-wood’ which is of a light colour, woolly and porous.
1877 Lady Barker Yr’s Hsekeeping 325For what rhyme or reason, what sense or satire can there be in such a name as ‘Cannibal Stink-wood’? — applied too to a graceful, handsome tree, whose bark gives out an aromatic though pungent perfume.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 107Cannibal stinkwood, Celtis Kraussiana. The first part of this name appears to be a corruption of Camdeboo..; it is applied to a variety of stinkwood, the wood of which is woolly, porous, and useless to the cabinet-maker.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 395Red stinkwood, Pygeum africanum. A fine tree known for many years by this name, but only recently botanically identified.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 78The most familiar kind, called Black stinkwood, is Ocotea bullata...The Red - is Pygeum africanum (East, forests), and the Camdeboo - or White -, Celtis Kraussiana.
1951 N.L. King Tree-Planting in S. Afr. 70Pygeum africanum (Bitter almond or red stinkwood), A large and extremely handsome tree with dense glossy foliage.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 145The red stinkwood, which closely resembles its imported relation, the Portugal laurel, a handsome, evergreen tree and under good conditions grows to a height of 80 feet with a stem diameter of 3 feet.
1949 L.G. Green In Land of Afternoon 193White stinkwood, or Camdeboo stinkwood, also has an offensive odour; otherwise the white and black stinkwood have nothing in common.
1961 Palmer & Pitman Trees of S. Afr. 201The white or Camdebo stinkwood is one of the most widely distributed of all our native trees...It varies growth and form depending on the conditions under which it grows.
1975 E. Prov. Herald 21 May 22White or Camdeboo Stinkwood could be the tree of the future. It is an attractive, deciduous tree that can be grown in almost every part of the country.
1993 Weekend Argus 14 Aug. 7White Stinkwood, The indigenous white stinkwood (Celtis africana) is a 12m high, spreading shade tree.
The protected indigenous tree Ocotea bullata of the Lauraceae, prized for its timber (in full stinkwood tree); the finely-grained, dark, heavy wood of this tree; African oak, see African adjective1 sense 1 b i; Cape mahogany sense (b), also Cape walnut sense (a), see Cape sense 2 a; stinkhout sense a; stinking wood. Also attributive.
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