This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek name, probably of the castor bean). Euphorbiacese. Herbs, shrubs or trees of no special horticultural value; some cultivated for economic products which they yield.
Pubescence stellate or scaly: leaves usually alternate: flowers mostly in terminal spikes or racemes, usually monoecious, sometimes dioecious; sepals usually 5-10, small, petals present at least in the staminate flowers; stamens 5 to many, incurved in the bud; ovary 3-celled, 1 ovule in each cell. - Five hundred or more species in the warmer parts of the world, chiefly in Amer. Several herbaceous species native in S. and W. U. S.
Fig. 1119. Croton alabamensis.
For Croton tinctorius, see Chrozophora; for C. sebiferus, see Sapium. See also Codiseum for the commonly cultivated crotons of florists.
Physic-Nut. Purging Croton. Small tree: leaves ovate, acuminate, serrate, petiolate, varying from metallic green to bronze and orange: pistillate flowers apetalous. S.E.Asia. Blanco. Flower Fil. 383. - The powerful purgative, croton oil, is obtained from the seeds. Offered in S. Calif, as an ornamental and curious plant.
Seaside Balsam. Sweetwood. Petals in both staminate and pistillate flowers: leaves ovate-lanceolate, acuminate subcordate. Bahamas. B.M. 7515. - This species and C. Cascarilla, Benn., Bahamas and Fla., yield the cascarilla bark.
E. A. Smith. Fig. 1119. Shrub, 6-9 ft. high: leaves evergreen, nearly entire, oblong-lanceolate, upper side nearly smooth, lower side densely silvery scaly: both staminate and pistillate flowers with petals. Local in Ala., rarely cultivated G.F. 2:594 (see Fig. 1119).
J. B. S. Norton.