One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A toxic crystalline substance obtained from the roots of derris and related plants, widely used as an insecticide.
- ‘By the mid 1800s, the heads of chrysanthemum flowers were used to obtain pyrethrum, and rotenone was extracted from the derris plant.’
- ‘A good dusting of rotenone is effective, as is hand-picking, or giving the bush a good, hard shake.’
- ‘Use insecticidal soap sprays or rotenone to kill this pest.’
- ‘A hard spray of water will knock some bugs off the plants and a dusting of a non-toxic substance called rotenone shuts off their breathing mechanism.’
- ‘Found commonly in a number of wild plants, rotenone makes it impossible for the fish to use oxygen.’
1920s: from Japanese rotenon (from roten ‘derris’) + -one.
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