• WordNet 3.6
    • n henbane poisonous fetid Old World herb having sticky hairy leaves and yellow-brown flowers; yields hyoscyamine and scopolamine
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Henbane (Bot) A plant of the genus Hyoscyamus Hyoscyamus niger). All parts of the plant are poisonous, and the leaves are used for the same purposes as belladonna. It is poisonous to domestic fowls; whence the name. Called also, stinking nightshade, from the fetid odor of the plant. See Hyoscyamus.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n henbane A plant of the genus Hyoscyamus, natural order Solanaceæ. Common henbane is H. niger, a native of Europe and northern Asia, and adventitious in the United States. It is a coarse, erect bienuial herb, found in waste ground and loose dry soil, having soft, clammy, hairy foliage of a disagreeable odor, pale yellowish-brown flowers streaked with purple veins, and a five-toothed calyx. The leaves are used in medicine, and resemble belladonna in their action. They yield hyoscine and hyosciamine. When taken in any considerable quantity, the herb acts as a deadly poison to man and most animals, and is especially destructive to domestic fowls (whence the name). Swine are said to eat it with impunity. Also called stinking nightshade and hog's-bean.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Henbane a coarse annual or biennial herb of the nightshade family, poisonous, esp. to domestic fowls
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Hen, + bane,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. hennhana, a cock; Ger. hahn, fem. henne.


In literature:

Compare "hyuscyamus," hogbean, our henbane, which we also owe to Xenophon.
"Anabasis" by Xenophon
The Henbane of the Bishops.
"Gargantua and Pantagruel, Complete." by Francois Rabelais
Then Mr. Slope's successes were henbane to Dr. Grantly, and Mrs.
"Barchester Towers" by Anthony Trollope
I've had a letter this morning from poor Lizzie Henbane; I must show it you.
"Demos" by George Gissing
The very memory I bear of you has saved me no inconsiderable sum in hop and henbane.
"The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Vol. 4" by Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
The very memory I bear of you has saved me no inconsiderable sum in hop and henbane.
"The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Complete" by Charles James Lever (1806-1872)
Perth and all Scotland shall know what a man they have lost in Henbane Dwining!
"The Fair Maid of Perth" by Sir Walter Scott
The Henbane of the Bishops.
"Gargantua and Pantagruel, Book II." by Francois Rabelais
This love acts like henbane: you see suns, where there are none, and stars where no stars are!
"The Road to Damascus" by August Strindberg
Dissolve one drachm of extract of henbane in twenty-four drachms of water.
"Enquire Within Upon Everything" by Anonymous

In poetry:

Read, when you've picked your nosegay
Of henbane and poppy flowers,
That I was once called Marina,
And discover how old I was.
"Much Like Me" by Marina Ivanova Tsvetaeva
Stinking'st of the stinking kind,
Filth of the mouth and fog of the mind,
Africa, that brags her foyson,
Breeds no such prodigious poison,
Henbane, nightshade, both together,
Hemlock, aconite ———
"A Farewell To Tobacco" by Charles Lamb