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The term used to designate any surviving fragment of the exploded planet Krypton, home world of Superman.

There are five distinct varieties of kryptonite (green, red, gold, blue, and white), the first three of which are toxic to Superman.

Green kryptonite, the only variety potentially fatal to Superman, induces lassitude and inertia followed by death if not removed in time from Superman's presence.

Red kryptonite inflicts bizarre and unpredictable - albeit temporary and nonfatal - symptoms, as when it divides Superman into twins or transforms him into an infant or a giant ant.

Gold kryptonite would permanently rob Superman of his super-powers were he ever to be exposed to its radiations.

These three varieties of kryptonite are similarly hazardous to Supergirl, Krypto the Superdog, and all other surviving natives of Krypton.

Blue kryptonite is toxic only to Bizarro creaturesWhite kryptonite is harmful only to plant life.  Whenever the word kryptonite appears in this encyclopaedia without a specific color designation, it is green kryptonite, the most common variety, that is being referred to.

Kryptonite Handbook
For more detailed information about the more than ten known varieties of Kryptonite, please see Mark Alfred's article, The Colors Out of Space.

See also: K-Metal.

Text on this page taken from The Great Superman Book © 1978 by Michael L. Fleisher.  Kryptonite Handbook by Howard Bender and Larry Mahlstedt, contributed by David Morefield.  Superman TM DC Comics, © DC Comics, Joanne Siegel, and Laura Siegel Larson.
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