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Croton Codiaeum variegatum

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Croton:

Phonetic Spelling
koh-dee-EYE-um var-ee-eh-GAY-tum
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'.  Cultivated varieties, known as var. pictum, are 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. 

While the wild type has green glossy leaves, cultivated varieties come in a plethora of shapes and variegated colors.  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.  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 green, leathery, and glossy
  • Upright interior shrub
  • 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.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. pictum
Tags:
#poisonous#houseplant#container plant#interiorscape#variegated leaves#ncemgva2018#glossy leaves#fantz#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#ebh#ebh-h#tropical
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. pictum
Tags:
#poisonous#houseplant#container plant#interiorscape#variegated leaves#ncemgva2018#glossy leaves#fantz#leathery leaves#evergreen shrub#ebh#ebh-h#tropical
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Codiaeum
    Species:
    variegatum
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Malaysia to South Western Pacific
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Oval
  • 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
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Insignificant
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Description:
    A slender axillary raceme, at branch tips. White, insignificant, sticky.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    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. Cultivated varieties are more colorful. Milky sap exudes when broken.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Bark Description:
    Woody old growth is vertically fissured.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Leaf Scar Shape:
    Round
    Stem Description:
    New growth green, old growth brown and woody with vertical fissures and oval leaf scars giving the stem a pock-marked appearance.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    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