One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A pentacyclic phenolic alkaloid, C₂₀H₂₁NO₆, originally derived in an impure state from opium and present in various species of poppy.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Robert Thomson (1810–1864), medical officer of health. From German Porphyroxin from ancient Greek πορϕύρα purple + oxy- + -in; so called because it gives a red colour when heated with dilute mineral acid.
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