What Does White Kryptonite Do to Superman?

When I say ‘Kryptonite,’ you probably think of the glowing light-green rock that harms Superman immensely. However, that’s just one of the types of K-rock, as there are dozens of other versions that appeared in the comics. White Kryptonite is, if you ask me, one of the most useful – and useless – versions of Kryptonite ever. So, what does White Kryptonite do to Superman?

White Kryptonite does absolutely nothing to Superman, or any other Kryptonian, human, alien, or animal. However, White Kryptonite kills all plant life in the universe that it comes into contact with, regardless of the planet origin of the plant. It also destroys pathogenic microbes and bacteria.

That’s why I say it’s both useful and useless. If you want to use it against Supes or your evil neighbor, you might as well save yourself some trouble and pick up a random rock to throw at them – it’ll have the same effect. However, if you throw some White Kryptonite on the evil neighbor’s lawn, it’s bye-bye grass! Here’s everything we know about White K in DC Comics.

What is White Kryptonite?

White Kryptonite is a variant of Kryptonite, a rock originating on the destroyed planet of Krypton. Like Red Kryptonite was actually Green Kryptonite that passed through a mysterious, misty red cloud in space, which changed its appearance and effects, White Kryptonite was also Green before it passed through a space cloud.

White Kryptonite is actually among the first few versions of the rock that had ever appeared. The first time we saw it in comics was in Adventure Comics #279 in December 1960. 

Since then, the stone has appeared several times, and we’ve seen it change slightly, from only being able to kill plant life across the universe to also being capable of destroying pathogenic microbes and alien bacteria.

What does White Kryptonite do to Superman?

Green Kryptonite hurts Superman. Red Kryptonite has random effects on him… So, what does White Kryptonite do to Superman?

Absolutely nothing. And not just to Superman, but any other non-plant being in the universe, be it a Kryptonian, a human, an extra-terrestrial, or an animal on Earth. The unique radiation emitting from the very-rare White Kryptonite is harmless to anybody but plants.

It destroys all plant life, regardless of the planet of origin – if White Kryptonite comes into contact with the plant, it will instantly kill it.

In its first appearance, in Adventure Comics #279, Superboy was thrown into the 50th century with a scientist’s time probe. There, he found an alien ship that crashed onto Earth and deadly, rapidly growing alien vegetation emerging from it. 

He finds shards of White Kryptonite and realizes it’s harmful to the alien plant. He uses White K to kill the plant, saving the world from a deadly alien infestation.

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Once again, the rock appeared in Action Comics #278 in 1961. This time, the situation was in the present and even weirder. Perry White, the Daily Planet editor, finds an alien plant and decides to try and eat it. It’s tasty – but his body gets infested and controlled by the parasitic plant known as Xasnu.

Supergirl takes a piece of White Kryptonite to kill the plant spores inside Perry, while Superman deals with the rest of the plant. Perry White comes to his senses and has no recollection of what just happened.

Alternative versions of White Kryptonite

There weren’t many alternative versions of White Kryptonite throughout the years – it’s just that the extent of its effects was gradually discovered throughout the years. At first, it seemed only to affect plants, but later, we learned that it could also kill pathogenic microbes and bacteria, as it did in Action Comics #365.

In the issue, Superman got infected with a rare, reverse-engineered strain of Virus X – completely incurable and highly infectious. So, he launched himself into space to be cremated in Flammbron – the universe’s hottest sun, said to have the temperature of a thousand normal suns.

Luckily for Supes, he was unwittingly saved by Bizarros, who saw his funeral rocket flying through space, and they launched a barrage of Red and White Kryptonite stones in its direction. A shard of White K came into contact with Supes, ridding him of his disease and saving his life.

On another occasion, in Superman Family #189, a plague-like bacteria started spreading across the planet known as Sunworld III. It would completely devastate the planet hadn’t it been for Superman, who used a White Kryptonite meteoroid to kill the bacteria and save the planet.

There was also the time when Supergirl got infected with a mysterious disease caused by Kryptonian super-microbes. Superman realized he could save her by using White Kryptonite, as you can see in the featured image of this article.

The only real alternative version of White Kryptonite I can think of is Platinum Kryptonite. It’s not really white, per se, but close enough. It only appeared recently, in Batman Secret Files #1, in December 2018, but instantly became one of the most powerful versions of K-stone ever.

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It was revealed that it had no effects on Superman but could grant any non-superpowered humanoid the same Superpowers that Supes have – permanently. Platinum K was first given to Batman as a gift from Clark Kent, but of course, Bruce Wayne decided not to use it for himself.

Instead, he gave it to Claire Glover, also known as Gotham Girl, essentially making her the new Supes in Gotham City.

Can the effects of White Kryptonite be stopped?

So, we’ve learned that White Kryptonite has the kind of power to eradicate a plague-like infestation on an entire planet. Does that mean the effects spread uncontrollably? Can the effects of White Kryptonite be stopped somehow?

Unlike most versions of Kryptonite, White Kryptonite is unaffected by lead. The good thing is, the effects don’t spread from one plant to another, meaning, if you drop a shard of White K in a forest, it won’t kill the entire forest.

However, it would kill all plants that are close enough to experience the effects of its radiation. The bigger the stone, the larger the radius of its radiation. If it’s a pebble, it might kill a tree or two. However, if it’s a meteorite the size of a house, it might wipe out a big patch of the woods.

  • Luka is an amateur filmmaker, screenwriter, cinematography, and trivia enthusiast. High fantasy and fiction are his primary interest, especially Tolkien's Middle-earth universe, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Marvel Universe.