Definition of derris in English:


Syllabification: der·ris
Pronunciation: /ˈderis


  • 1An insecticide made from the powdered roots of certain tropical plants containing rotenone.
    [ late 19th century: originally used in Malaya to stupefy fish]
    More example sentences
    • This consisted of picking off the mature caterpillars and feeding them to the hens, and a liberal application of derris powder.
    • Jam laced with derris, camphor, citronella or pepper also makes an effective bait.
    • Second, spray the tree with derris, which is widely available, when roughly half the flower petals have fallen.
  • 2A woody, climbing plant of the pea family that bears leathery pods and has tuberous roots from which this insecticide is obtained.
    [modern Latin, from Greek, 'leather covering' (referring to its pod)]
    • Genus Derris, family Leguminosae
    More example sentences
    • By the mid 1800s, the heads of chrysanthemum flowers were used to obtain pyrethrum, and rotenone was extracted from the derris plant.
    • The insecticidal properties of Derris roots were first discovered in 1848 and the plant was first used against the nutmeg caterpillar.
    • For rotenone is no post-war insect killer cooked up in a corporate lab, but a natural product, extracted from the derris plant, and a mainstay of organic farms and gardens.

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