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Croton californicus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: EuphorbiaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: 217 genera, 6000+ species: +- worldwide especially tropics; some cultivated (Aleurites, tung oil; Euphorbia species; Hevea, rubber; Ricinus). Toxicity: Many species +- highly TOXIC, due primarily to latex, especially if eaten or in contact with skin, eyes. Note: Eremocarpus moved to Croton, Tetracoccus moved to Picrodendraceae for TJM2; Chamaesyce moved to Euphorbia here (key to genera revised by Thomas J. Rosatti).
eFlora Treatment Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CrotonView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: 1200--1300 species: tropics, warm temperate, worldwide. Etymology: (Greek: tick, for resemblance of seed)

Croton californicus Müll. Arg.
Habit: Perennial herb to subshrub; < 1 m; dioecious; hairs stellate, scale-like. Leaf: petiole 1--4 cm; blade 2--5.5 cm, elliptic to narrowly oblong, tip rounded to obtuse. Inflorescence: raceme. Staminate Flower: pedicel 1--5.5(7) mm; petals 0; stamens 10--15. Pistillate Flower: pedicel <= 1 mm, 1--1.5(3) mm in fruit; sepals +- 2 mm; ovary 3-chambered, styles 3, +- dissected. Seed: 3.5--5.5 mm, smooth.
Ecology: Sandy soils, dunes, washes; Elevation: < 900 m. Bioregional Distribution: CCo, SCo, s ChI (Santa Catalina Island), D; Distribution Outside California: Arizona, Baja California. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Synonyms: Croton californicus var. mohavensis A.M. Ferguson; Croton californicus var. tenuis (S. Watson) A.M. Ferguson
eFlora Treatment Author: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster
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botanical illustration including Croton californicus


Citation for this treatment: Mark H. Mayfield & Grady L. Webster 2016. Croton californicus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 20, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 20, 2016.

Croton californicus
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Croton californicus
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© 2010 Thomas Stoughton
Croton californicus
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© 2010 Thomas Stoughton
Croton californicus
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© 2010 Thomas Stoughton
Croton californicus
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© 2008 Steve Matson
Croton californicus
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© 2005 James M. Andre

More photos of Croton californicus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Croton californicus:
CCo, SCo, s ChI (Santa Catalina Island), D;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.