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Fire Croton Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum

This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Croton is an erect tropical evergreen shrub reaching heights of 8' but more commonly 3'.   It is a popular house shrub plant grown for its variously colored foliage or used as an exterior foundation plant, hedge, specimen plant where it is protected from frost. 

Leaf variegation of yellow, red and green often changes with age; leaf shape variations often popular.  The white blooms are insignificant, not showy.

Prefers high light, direct sunlight; prefers dry soil and low to medium relative humidity. Water it liberally from spring to autumn, sparingly in winter.  Increasing light exposure will increase variegation.  Mist leaves regularly, daily if possible.

A milky white latex sap that excuses from damaged leaves or stems can be an irritant to soft tissue, causing itching and swelling.  Wash your hands thoroughly when handling plants and keep hands away from the eyes.

 

Found in: Houseplant or interiorscape; landscape as tender annual planted outdoors in summer

Quick ID Hints:

  • Leaves are variegated red, yellow and green
  • Upright interior shrub with glossy, colorful leaves
  • Milky sap exudes from broken leaves or stems

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Spider mite susceptibility sometimes limits interiorscape use to short-term. 

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Codiaeum variegatum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#houseplant#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#glossy leaves#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#ebh#ebh-h#tropical#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#houseplant#colorful leaves#interiorscape#variegated leaves#glossy leaves#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#ebh#ebh-h#tropical#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Codiaeum
    Species:
    variegatum
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Malaysia to South Western Pacific
    Distribution:
    Cultivated worldwide
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Houseplant
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Oval
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    11b, 11a, 12a, 12b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Brown/Copper
    Insignificant
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Schizocarp
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Dark-colored fruit composed of three mericarps, one seed per each.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    A slender axillary raceme, at branch tips. White, insignificant, sticky. Male and female flowers grow on separate inflorescences, the male flowers with five petals and the females with none.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, simple leaves, linear to ovate, acute, entire or lobed, coriaceous (leathery), rugose (crinkled), glossy, medium green variegated with white, yellow, red and/or red-purple darkened to nearly black; petiole & vein sap milky white. High levels of variation among cultivars.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    Woody old growth is vertically fissured.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Cream/Tan
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    New growth green to tan, old growth brown and woody with vertical fissures and oval leaf scars giving the stem a pock-marked appearance.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Allergic dermatitis with skin rash developing after repeated contact. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea when ingested.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene esters
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems