California croton Croton californicus, copyright Jim Morefield.

Belongs within: Euphorbiaceae.

Croton is a genus of trees and shrubs bearing stellate hairs on the leaves and stems. Members are found in tropical and warm temperate regions of the world (Hickman 1993). Oil from Croton tiglium has historically been used as a purgative but is now largely regarded as unsafe.

Characters (from Hickman 1993): Annual, perennial, shrub, tree, monoecious or dioecious; sap clear or colored. Stems generally erect. Leaves generally simple, cauline, alternate; hairs generally stellate. Inflorescence a spike or raceme, generally terminal. Staminate flowers generally pedicelled; sepals generally 5; petals 5 or absent; stamens 8-50(300), filaments free, bent inward in bud; nectar disk generally divided. Pistillate flowers with pedicel short or absent, becoming longer in fruit; sepals generally 5, entire to lobed; petals generally absent; nectar disk entire; ovary 3-chambered, styles 2-lobed or toothed. Fruit spheric or three-lobed, smooth or tubercled. Seeds one per chamber, smooth to ribbed or pitted; scar appendaged.

    |--C. acronychioidesH90
    |--C. alabamensisDL07
    |--C. aridusLK14
    |--C. arnhemicusLK14
    |--C. bonplandianumP03
    |--C. californicus [incl. C. californicus var. mohavensis,. C. californicus var. tenuis]H93
    |--C. capitatusH90
    |--C. caudatusDD73
    |--C. chlorocalyxDD73
    |--C. ciliato-glandulosusBT87
    |--C. corymbulosusBT72
    |--C. draconoidesGA97
    |--C. gibsonianusSR07
    |--C. glabellusJ87
    |--C. gossipifoliusPWP96
    |--C. habrophyllusLK14
    |--C. insularisB00
    |--C. linearisS72
    |--C. macrostachyusE09
    |--C. megalocarpusHSS13
    |--C. oblongifoliusP03
    |--C. phebalioides [incl. C. maidenii]H90
    |--C. poecilanthusSWK87
    |--C. schultziiLK14
    |--C. sonderianusBP09
    |--C. stigmatosusH90
    |--C. tigliumP88
    |--C. tinctoriumB02
    |--C. tomentellusLK14
    |--C. verreauxiiH90
    `--C. wigginsiiH93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BT72] Baker, E. W., & D. M. Tuttle. 1972. New species and further notes on the Tetranychoidea mostly from the southwestern United States (Acarina: Tetranychidae and Tenuipalpidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 116: 1–37.

[BT87] Baker, E. W., & D. M. Tuttle. 1987. The false spider mites of Mexico (Tenuipalpidae: Acari). United States Department of Agriculture, Technical Bulletin 1706: 1–237.

[B02] Bouvier, M. 1802. Sur le Clematis flammula, et le Croton tinctorium. Bulletin des Sciences, par la Societé Philomathique de Paris 1 (Bulletin de la Société Philomathique, a ses correspondans): 13′.

[B00] Braby, M. F. 2000. Butterflies of Australia: their identification, biology and distribution vol. 1. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood (Victoria).

[BP09] Bravo, F., H. Pohl, A. Silva-Neto & R. G. Beutel. 2009. Bahiaxenidae, a “living fossil” and a new family of Strepsiptera (Hexapoda) discovered in Brazil. Cladistics 25 (6): 614–623.

[DL07] Davis, C. C., M. Latvis, D. L. Nickrent, K. J. Wurdack & D. A. Baum. 2007. Floral gigantism in Rafflesiaceae. Science 315: 1812.

[DD73] Deb, D. B., & R. M. Dutta. 1973. Contribution to the flora of Tirap Frontier Division. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (3): 547–573.

[E09] Ensermu K. 2009. Three new species of Acanthaceae from Ethiopia. Kew Bulletin 64 (1): 57–65.

[GA97] Gillespie, L. J., & W. S. Armbruster. 1997. A contribution to the Guianan flora: Dalechampia, Haematostemon, Omphalea, Pera, Plukenetia, and Tragia (Euphorbiaceae) with notes on subfamily Acalyphoideae. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 86: 1–48.

[H90] Harden, G. J. (ed.) 1990. Flora of New South Wales vol. 1. New South Wales University Press.

[H93] Hickman, J. C. (ed.) 1993. The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California. University of California Press: Berkeley (California).

[HSS13] Hirschfeld, E., A. Swash & R. Still. 2013. The World’s Rarest Birds. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[LK14] Lyons, M. N., G. J. Keighery, L. A. Gibson & T. Handasyde. 2014. Flora and vegetation communities of selected islands off the Kimberley coast of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 81: 205–244.

[PWP96] Palmer, W. A., B. W. Willson & K. R. Pullen. 1996. The host range of Aconophora compressa Walker (Homoptera: Membracidae): a potential biological control agent for Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 98 (4): 617–624.

[P03] Paul, T. K. 2003. Botanical observations on the Purulia pumped storage hydropower project area, Bagmundi Hills, Purulia district, West Bengal. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 45: 121–142.

[P88] Polunin, I. 1988. Plants and Flowers of Malaysia. Times Editions: Singapore.

[SR07] Sankar, R. V., K. Ravikumar, N. M. Ganesh Babu & D. K. Ved. 2007. Botany of Anapady MPCA, Palghat district, Kerala with special emphasis on species of conservation concern. Bulletin of the Botanical Survey of India 49: 165–172.

[S72] Shields, O. 1972. Flower visitation records for butterflies (Lepidoptera). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 48 (3): 189–203.

[SWK87] Snyder, N. F. R., J. W. Wiley & C. B. Kepler. 1987. The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural history and conservation of the Puerto Rican parrot. Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology: Los Angeles.

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