follow Dictionary.com

Do you know ghouls from goblins and ghosts?

dumb cane

noun
1.
a West Indian foliage plant, Dieffenbachia seguine, of the arum family, having yellow-blotched leaves that cause temporary speechlessness when chewed.
Also called dumb plant, mother-in-law plant.
Origin
1690-1700
1690-1700
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
British Dictionary definitions for dumb-cane

dumb-cane

noun
1.
a West Indian aroid plant, Dieffenbachia seguine, chewing the stem of which induces speechlessness by paralysing the throat muscles
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for dumb-cane

dumb cane

any of about 30 species of herbaceous plants valued as indoor foliage for their ability to tolerate low light intensities. The name mother-in-law's tongue, sometimes used for these plants, is also applied to Sansevieria species. Dumb cane (especially D. seguine) gets its name from the temporary speechlessness that occurs after chewing a piece of the stem. Juices of the plant contain oxalates and other substances that irritate the mucous membranes and cause swelling and inflammation of the tongue and throat. Dumb cane is reported to have been given to slaves as a form of punishment.

Learn more about dumb cane with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for dumb cane

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for dumb

9
12
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with dumb-cane

Nearby words for dumb-cane