One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Either of two tall perennial South African grasses, Ehrharta gigantea and E. villosa, the latter now widely naturalized in New Zealand where it is regarded as an invasive weed.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Peter Simmonds (1814–1897), newsagent and journalist. From South African Dutch pijpgras (Afrikaans pypgras) from pyp + gras (so called on account of the shape of its stems), with assimilation of the second element to grass.
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