SCIENTIFIC NAME: Croton
COMMON NAME(S): Crotons
FAMILY: EUPHORBIACEAE - Spurge family
ORIGIN: World's tropics, about 600 spp.
HABITAT: Pinelands, coastal dunes, disturbed areas
CHARACTERISTICS: Stems usually with star-shaped hairs
LEAVES: Alternate, margins smooth or toothed, rarely lobed, often with star-shaped hairs, at least on upper surface
FLOWERS: Inconspicuous, tiny, aggregated on dense clusters or spikes
FLOWERING SEASON: Variable, often all year
FRUITS: Small, dry, splitting into 3, 1-seeded segments
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Croton oil
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The juice from these weedy species is very irritating to the skin and eye. Croton oil, contained in some species, if not all, is highly toxic. C. punctatus Jacq. is a tall herb common near the shore from North Carolina to Florida, east to Texas. C. glandulosus L. is a small herb widespread in the region.