One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Any of various trees or shrubs having hooked thorns, especially the blackthorn, Acacia mellifera subsp. detinens, or similar species of the genus Acacia, and (now less commonly) the grapple-plant, Harpagophytum procumbens.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in William Burchell (1781–1863), explorer and naturalist. In some forms from South African Dutch haakdoorn from haak hook + doorn.
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