Jim McKenney
Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:49:45 PDT
This is getting too good to pass up. Google makes this sort of thing so easy!Here's what wikipedia says: The name Żubrówka comes from żubr (pronounced zhubr), the Polish word for the European bison, which is particularly fond of eating bison grass. The word żubralso appears in similar forms with an identical meaning in numerous other Slavic languages: Belarusian—as well as Russian and Ukrainian—зубр (zubr), Bulgarian зубър (zubŭr), Czech zubr, Slovak zubor andSlovenian zober. Although in Poland the word Żubrówka is now commonly associated with the type of vodka, in Polish the same word is used to describe bison grass—which is primarily what the vodka is named after.
The European bison (aka Wisent), which almost did not survive the Second World War, is so closely related to our native American buffalo that the two species can successfully hybridize. These two species also hybridize with domestic cattle, and that suggests that they have not been distinct species for very long. 
The natural range of Hierochloë odorata includes both northern Europe and much of North America. The Plains Indians used it to weave fragrant baskets; the Polish use it to flavor vodka. 
To avoid confusion, perhaps in English we should call Hierochloë odorata bison grass, and not buffalo grass (and use buffalo grass for Bouteloua dactyloides).

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7 where autumn crocus are finally starting to bloom.      
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