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Woolly Croton Croton capitatus

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KROH-ton kap-ih-TAY-tus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Hogwort is an annual herb in the spurge family with erect, branched stems covered with white or rusty brown, woolly hairs. It is native to central and eastern USA and rare in NC.  It is weedy in disturbed areas as fields, pastures, roadsides and prairies. In pastures. it presents a problem as it is poisonous to cattle and horses if mixed in with hay. 

It is a host plant for 2 butterflies and the seeds provide food to ground-feeding birds like doves and quail. The flowers are not showy and the leaves are wooly looking due to dense hairs. It will grow 1-3 feet tall and is often found growing in sandy or rocky soils in full sun.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#annual#weedy#food source#NC native#wild turkeys#summer flowers#quail#butterfly larvae#problem for horses#birds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#annual#weedy#food source#NC native#wild turkeys#summer flowers#quail#butterfly larvae#problem for horses#birds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Croton
    Species:
    capitatus
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WI, WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Seeds are important dove, wild turkey and quail food. Attracts butterflies and is larva host to Gray Hairstreaks and Goatweed Leafwing
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Wildlife Larval Host
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    High
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are hairy spherical capsules about ¼ inch wide and split open to release 3 round or oblong seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Flowers are densely clustered at the stem tips, with male flowers toward the tip, and female flowers below. Male flowers have 5 tiny white petals and 10–14 anthers. Female flowers have 6–9 calyx lobes and lack petals.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Velvety
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Gray-green alternate, simple, fuzzy leaves are oval to lance-shaped and margins are sometimes wavy. 1 to 4 inches long, 1/4 to 3/4 inch wide, base rounded and tip blunt.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Erect, branched stems covered with light brown, woolly hairs
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Poisonous to Humans
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    TOXIC ONLY IF LARGE QUANTITIES EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION MINOR, OR LASTING ONLY FOR A FEW MINUTES. Vomiting, diarrhea, nervousness; skin irritation with blisters.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Croton oil
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Sap/Juice
    Seeds
    Stems