One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A coarse grass with tough narrow leaves, native to Spain and North Africa. It is used to make ropes, wickerwork, and good-quality paper.
Stipa tenacissima, family Gramineae
- ‘The Canary Islands' production of tobacco and bananas is important, as is that of esparto grass on the eastern meseta for the manufacture of traditional footgear and other items.’
- ‘Mostly desert, with only 2 percent of its territory arable, Libya's major exports were esparto grass and scrap iron from its World War II battlefields.’
- ‘The pasture field was overgrown with an abundance of esparto grass, but the area where the carcass was found was clean and scorched.’
Mid 19th century: from Spanish, via Latin from Greek sparton ‘rope’.
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