Cow grass – Smelly Grass – Grass Bamboo – May Grass. By Casey Kit [Facebook]

Cow grass – Smelly Grass – Grass Bamboo – May Grass. By Casey Kit [Facebook]
Cow grass – Smelly Grass – Grass Bamboo – May Grass.
This is a certain type of grass recently being introduced into Tapini from Wau in the Morobe Province.

A legend has it that a particular man named Kito Tumai of Tatupit village in Tapini area went to Wau in the early 80s to visit relatives who were working in gold fields. While there he learnt about the grass called the cow grass and witnessed the herds of cows grazing nearby.

Someone tricked the old man that the named grass gave birth to cows. This was exciting news for a simple villager who was happy to become a cow farmer if he would bring the seeds of the grass back home. So he did. He emptied one of his bags off its content and filled with it the seeds of the grass and brought to Tapini. He took it to his village (Luovai) and sowed them in a little secured plot near his house, safeguarding it day and night to ensure they grew up undisturbed.

In the meantime, Makae Malavi, an elder from Katavat Lavav, heard of the good luck of his friend from Tatupit. He came to wish him well and to see if it was ok for him to enter into a partnership with his friend. Kindly enough his friend Kito Tumai gave him some seeds to take to Katavat Lavav. He took it and planted it in a little fenced area behind his house. As was advised by Kito Tumai, this was safeguarded. They both hoped that it would give birth to cows.

For a while the cow grass did not begot any cows but more seeds which were easily spread by the wind. It did not occur to the two men that they had introduced a very violent grass in the entire Tapini area. By late 80s and early 90s the grass was beginning to spread all in Tatupit and Katavat areas. To date it covers almost 50% of Tatupit land and about 25% of Katavat but still now cows.

There is another twist to the magic grass. It is oily and sticky. It soils clothes and human bodies too in dry periods. As such, the local people gave it the name smelly grass. However, if it is burnt it crackles like bamboos so it got its name as bamboo grass. May grass is its seasonal name. It flowers during the month of May so naturally it was named May grass. When it blooms it signals the beginning of dry spells. People usually begin to make gardens.

Right now this grass is everywhere. After a garden site is furrowed it brings the cows into the land: it forces its way into the vacant land and claims it. There is no way known Goilalans can to get rid of it, perhaps the origin reason why it was called the cow grass. It behaves like a cow and occupies empty spaces very quickly. At the moment that is what you see in May all around the mountain sides of Tapini.


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