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EUPHORBIACEAE SPURGE FAMILY

Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster, except as noted

Annual to shrub, tree [vine, cactus-like succulent]; monoecious or dioecious; sap clear or milky. Stem: generally branched [fleshy or spiny]. Leaf: generally simple, alternate to whorled, generally stipuled, sessile or petioled; blade entire, toothed, or lobed. Inflorescence: flowers solitary or in terminal or axillary cymes, racemes, spikes, or panicles, or (in Euphorbia) 1° inflorescence a compact, flower-like cyathium with much-reduced flowers enclosed within an involucre of fused bracts, cyathia terminal or axillary, 1 or in cyme-like arrays. Flower: unisexual, ± radial; sepals 0 or 2–6, free or fused; petals generally 0(5); stamens 1–many, free or filaments fused; ovary superior, chambers (1)3(4), styles free or fused, undivided, forked, or variously lobed. Fruit: generally capsule that splits into mericarps that then dehisce, releasing seeds. Seed: 1 per chamber; knob-like appendage sometimes present at attachment scar.
217 genera, 6000+ species: ± worldwide especially tropics; some cultivated (Aleurites, tung oil; Euphorbia species; Hevea, rubber; Ricinus). Many species ± highly TOXIC, due primarily to latex, especially if eaten or in contact with skin, eyes. [Yang et al. 2012 Taxon 61:764–789] Eremocarpus moved to Croton, Tetracoccus moved to Picrodendraceae for TJM2; Chamaesyce moved to Euphorbia here (key to genera revised by Thomas J. Rosatti). —Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.

Key to Euphorbiaceae

CROTON
Annual to shrub [tree]; sap clear or colored; monoecious or dioecious. Stem: spreading to erect. Leaf: cauline, alternate, entire in California; hairs generally stellate. Inflorescence: cyme, spike, or raceme, generally terminal. Staminate flower: generally pedicelled; sepals generally 5; petals 5 or 0; stamens 8–50(300), filaments free, bent inward in bud; nectar disk generally divided. Pistillate flower: pedicel short or 0, becoming longer in fruit; sepals generally 5, entire to lobed; petals generally 0; nectar disk entire; ovary 1–3-chambered, styles 2-lobed, ± dissected, or simple. Fruit: spheric or 3-lobed, smooth or tubercled. Seed: smooth to ribbed or pitted; scar appendaged.
1200–1300 species: tropics, warm temperate, worldwide. (Greek: tick, for resemblance of seed) [Berry et al. 2005 Amer J Bot 92:1520–1534]

Key to Croton

Previous taxon: Bernardia incana
Next taxon: Croton californicus

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Oct 26 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Croton, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=9006, accessed on Oct 26 2014

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