Croton glandulosus (Vente Conmigo)

Plant Info
Also known as: Tropic Croton, Glandular Croton, Sand Croton, Northern Croton
Genus:Croton
Family:Euphorbiaceae (Spurge)
Life cycle:annual
Origin:southern US
Habitat:sun; dry, sandy soil; prairies, roadsides, railroads, old fields, waste areas, open woods
Bloom season:July - October
Plant height:8 to 48 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: indistinct Cluster type: raceme Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in small clusters at branch tips and arising from upper leaf axils, with separate male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious), each flower less than ½ inch across. Male flowers are white with 5 petals and up to 10 white stamens; as many as 20 flowers are clustered at the tip of a stalk up to ½ inch long. At the base of this stalk are 1 to 4 female flowers, petal-less with 5 narrow green sepals and 3 styles divided at the base to look like 6.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaf] Leaves are alternate (though may appear whorled just below the terminal cluster), oblong to narrowly egg-shaped, ¾ to 2¾ inches long, mostly more than twice as long as wide, blunt or rounded at the tip, rounded at the base, on a stalk up to 3/8 inch long. Edges are sharply toothed and both surfaces are moderately covered in star-shaped hairs.

[close-up of leaf glands] At the tip of the leaf stalk where it meets the blade is a pair of saucer-shaped, stalkless glands. At the base of the stalk is a pair of short, thread-like appendages (stipules).

[photo of stem hairs] Stems are single from the base, erect, branched in the upper half, and moderately covered in star-shaped hairs. Hair rays are about equal in size and are appressed to the leaf, stalk or stem surface.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a globular, 3-sectioned capsule up to ¼ inch long and about as wide, covered in star-shaped hairs and with the remains of the styles persisting at the tip. Each section contains a single seed.

[photo of seeds] Seeds are oval to egg-shaped, 3 to 4 mm long, gray-brown to dark brown with a slightly wrinkled texture on the surface.

Notes:

There are at least 5 recognized varieties of Croton glandulosus, distinguished by combinations of the degree of hairiness, whether the hair rays are about equal in size and/or spreading or appressed, leaf size, whether leaf teeth are pointed or rounded, and whether the leaf glands are stalked. All but one of these vars are limited to the southern-most states between Florida and New Mexico; only var. septentrionalis extends to the upper Midwest and mid-Altantic states and is as described above. It is considered an agricultural pest in some areas.

The national map indicates it is native to Minnesota but the DNR considers it introduced this far north, as do Wisconsin and Michigan. While the fruits resemble those of Euphorbia species commonly found in Minnesota, the appressed, star-shaped hairs covering virtually the entire plant and the pair of glands at the tip of the leaf stalk are stand-out characteristics. It has only been recorded once in the state, in 1992 on a bluff prairie in Red Wing.

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More photos

Photos by John Thayer taken in Texas.

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