Orts or Oorts?

To: Martin Butterfield <>
Subject: Orts or Oorts?
From: "Valentine, Peter" <>
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 2017 11:18:34 +0000
Oorts are fragments of chewed up grass (or other similar material) that are 
spat out by small mammals, especially Bettongs, probably because these remnants 
are too fibrous to swallow. Ecologists are using them to help measure activity 
of bettongs at different sites and also to collect DNA from fresh saliva-rich 
oorts (as a non-invasive sampling technique). It makes sense given the 
definition Martin found for “orts" (food scraps). I wonder whether there is a 
different spelling by chance or deliberately (Gordon Claridge?) as the context 
seems the same (food scraps).

An interesting thread …


On 1 Jun 2017, at 3:36 pm, Martin Butterfield 
<<>> wrote:

Googling "ort" many general dictionaries define it as a scrap of left over
food.  It seems to come from Middle and Old English and to be cognate with
a similar word in Middle Low German.  Possibly the word is not of relevance
to botanists because it only applies when the plant has been eaten?

I was tempted to suggest a link to the O*ort* cloud of scraps of material
around the solar system but that appears wrong as it is actually named
after an astronomer Jan Oort!

To answer Judith's question HANZAB cites one reference to red-brows dining
on casuarina cones.

Martin Butterfield

On 1 June 2017 at 15:04, Dick Turner <> wrote:

reply all,

I cannot locate the word ort in two botanical references.

But I do know that finches eat casuarina seed, including beautiful
firetail eating seed of Allocasurina littoralis in forests near Eden,

Dick Turner

On 1/06/2017 9:29 AM, Judith L-A wrote:

(Are the allocas seed pods only called orts after they've been eaten

Main query--  Yesterday I watched Red-browed Firetails systematically
feeding in Glossy Black-Cockatoo Allocasuarinas. The finches lean towards
the ort, delicately insert their beak, & remove themselves while eating.

Does Hanzab list this as a foraging activity / food genus for this


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