Croton gratissimus Burch.
var. gratissimus

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Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Picture: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save Valley

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Picture: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save Valley

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Picture: Rob Burrett
National Botanic Garden, Harare

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Picture: Bart Wursten
Hwange NP, on loop from Main Camp through Dopi Pan

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Species details: Click on each item to see an explanation of that item (Note: opens a new window)

Synonyms: Croton welwitschianus Müll. Arg.
Croton zambesicus Müll. Arg.
Common names:
Status: Native
Shrub or small tree; trunk usually Y-forked with drooping branches; branches often in whorls of 3. Young twigs rusty to fulvous stellate-hairy. Leaves aromatic when crushed, elliptic, elliptic-lanceolate or narrowly oblong-lanceolate, 1.5–18 cm long, rounded to shallowly cordate at the base, with a pair of sessile to long-stalked basal glands on the lower surface, hairless and deep green to midgreen above (var. gratissimus), densely silvery-hairy with rusty spots or fulvous stellate-hairy beneath; midrib usually impressed above, prominent beneath; petiole up to 7 cm long. Racemes up to 15 cm long, terminal, with both male and female flowers or all male flowers. Flowers unisexual, creamy yellow, usually on the same tree and in the same inflorescence, rarely on different trees. Fruit subglobose and somewhat 3-lobed, 8–11 mm wide, densely greenish- or yellowish- to silvery-hairy with brown spots.
Type location:
South Africa, Cape Province
Notes: Flower buds are present on the trees throughout the dry season but only open after the first rains.
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Over a wide range of habitat and altitudes, often associated with rocky terrain.
Altitude range: Up to 1525 m
Flowering time:Sep - Nov
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa, occuring in 3 disjunct areas in W, NE and southern Africa
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): B,N,W,C,E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): Cb,E,Lk,S,W
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species: Epiphora mythimnia (Larval foodplant)
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 437. (Includes a picture).

Chapano, C. & Mamuto, M. (2003). Plants of the Chimanimani District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 18.

Chapano, C. & Mugarisanwa, N.H. (2003). Plants of the Matobo District National Herbarium and Botanic Garden, Zimbabwe Page 11.

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Pages 326 - 327. (Includes a picture).

Da Silva, M.C., Izidine, S. & Amude, A.B. (2004). A preliminary checklist of the vascular plants of Mozambique. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 30 Sabonet, Pretoria Page 55.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 251.

Mannheimer, C. & Curtis B. (2009). Le Roux and Müller's Field Guide to the Trees and Shrubs of Namibia Macmillan Education, Windhoek, Namibia. Pages 254 - 255. (Includes a picture).

Mapaura, A. & Timberlake, J. (eds) (2004). A checklist of Zimbabwean vascular plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 33 Sabonet, Pretoria and Harare Page 41.

Phiri, P.S.M. (2005). A Checklist of Zambian Vascular Plants Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report No. 32 Page 48. as Croton gratissimus

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 61. as Croton gratissimus (Includes a picture).

Radcliffe-Smith, A. (1996). Euphorbiaceae Flora Zambesiaca 9(4) Pages 279 - 281.

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 56.

Steedman, E.C. (1933). Some Trees, Shrubs and Lianes of Southern Rhodesia. Page 35.

Timberlake, J.R. & Childes, S.L. (2004). Biodiversity of the Four Corners Area: Technical Reviews Volume Two (Chapter 5-15) Appendix 5-1: Plant Checklist Occasional Publications in Biodiversity 15 Page 207.

Other sources of information about Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus
Flora of Caprivi: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus
Flora of Malawi: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus
Flora of Mozambique: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus
Flora of Zimbabwe: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Croton gratissimus
African Plant Database: Croton gratissimus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Croton gratissimus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Croton gratissimus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Croton gratissimus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
iNaturalist: Croton gratissimus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Croton gratissimus
JSTOR Plant Science: Croton gratissimus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Croton gratissimus
Plants of the World Online: Croton gratissimus
Tropicos: Croton gratissimus
Wikipedia: Croton gratissimus

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-24

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2024). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus., retrieved 14 June 2024

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