noun[mass noun] Chemistry
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.
- 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.
1920s: from Japanese rotenon (from roten 'derris') + -one.
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