tontel, noun

Forms:
tondel, tundelShow more Also tondel, tundel, tunderl.
Origin:
Afrikaans, DutchShow more Afrikaans, from Dutch tondel tinder.
‘Tinder’, an element in the names of plants whose dry, woolly leaves were used in the past as tinder:
tontelblaar /-blaːr/ [Afrikaans, blaar leaf], tontelblad /-blat/ [Afrikaans, blad leaf], tontelbloem /-blum/ [Afrikaans, bloem flower], tontelboom /-bʊəm/ [Afrikaans, boom tree], tontelbos /bɔs/ [Afrikaans, bos bush, shrub], all names for Hermas gigantea of the Apiaceae;
tonteldoek /-duk/, /-dʊk/ [Afrikaans, doek head-scarf], Arctotis acaulis of the Asteraceae.
[1837 Ecklon & Zeyher Enumeratio Plantarum Africae 2256Hermas gigantea...— Incolis: Tundel-Bloom.]
1856 L. Pappe in Cape of G.H. Almanac & Annual Register 343Hermas gigantea Lin. (Umbelliferae). The thick, white woolly integument of this plant, when dried, serves the natives for tinder, and the women prepare from its radical leaves very curious fancy articles of hosiery, such as knitting bags, gloves, stockings, caps etc. The plant which grows on the mountains near Tulbagh is known as the Tinder-bush (Tondel-blad).
1868 W.H. Harvey Genera of S. Afr. Plants 146The wool of H. gigantea (Tundelboom) is used for tinder.
1906 B. Stoneman Plants & their Ways 81Hermas gigantea, the ‘Tontel-bloom,’ has the lower leaves well protected by a dense hairy covering on both sides; as they get older, and their leaves become firmer, they are less in need of protection, and the hair is easily brushed off.
1913 C. Pettman Africanderisms 506A plant — Hermas gigentea [sic] — the dry, woolly leaves of which are sometimes used as tinder. It is sometimes called ‘Tondel-boom,’ though it is only a low herb.
1917 R. Marloth Dict. of Common Names of Plants 82Tondelblaar, Hermas gigantea. The large basal leaves are covered with a layer of white felt on the underside; when dried and properly prepared they are used for tinderboxes and as a dressing for wounds, like lint (Clanwilliam), etc. Some other plants are sometimes employed in a similar way, e.g., Arctotis acaulis (Tondeldoek).
1945 L.G. Green Where Men Still Dream 136The Tontelboom has a dense hairy covering of lower leaves, used as tinder by old travellers.
1966 C.A. Smith Common Names 465Thunberg, who in 1772, gave the name as ‘Tondelboom’ for the species evidently gave an erroneous rendering, as the plants are not trees.
1988 Smuts & Alberts Forgotten Highway through Ceres & Bokkeveld 65The Forgotten Highway has a forgotten grave. At the roadside in the shadow of the Paardeberg, and veiled by the nodding cotton-padded ‘tontelbos’, there stands a foot-high headstone.
‘Tinder’, an element in the names of plants whose dry, woolly leaves were used in the past as tinder: