Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A poisonous dioecious tree (Metopium toxiferum) of southern Florida and the West Indies, having pinnately compound leaves, yellow-green flowers clustered in axillary panicles, and yellow-orange drupes. It causes a rash on contact.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Metopium toxiferum, a species of tree found in the American neotropics known for producing the irritant urushiol.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small poisonous tree, Rhus Metopium, of the West Indies and southern Florida, whose bark yields upon incision a gum with emetic, purgative, and diuretic properties. Also called burnwood, coral-sumac, mountain manchineel,hog-plum,etc.
  • n. A small euphorbiaceous tree, Sebastiania lucida, of the same habitat

Etymologies

poison +‎ wood (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Spend enough time with all those stoners and smugglers and ex-cons and sugar cane tycoons and telemarketers and televangelists, and you'll swear they must have crawled straight from the Florida swamps, hissing, wreathed in poisonwood.

    Carl Hiaasen's Hollywood comedy, "Star Island"

  • When I was in high school, we never got to read things like the poisonwood bible.

    readersguide Diary Entry

  • I'm reading 'The poisonwood bible' by Barbra Kingsolver about an American family who settle in a Congolese village in the sixties trying to spread the word of God-well the father anyway, the rest cant be bothered.

    Archive 2005-01-01

  • An ivylike beauty identified quaintly as poisonwood.

    Blood Test

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • The eroded, corky and flinty internal tissues of this tree are commonly encountered as drift on the eastern beaches of penninsular Florida, carried there and to points north by the Gulf Stream.

    December 16, 2010