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Croton fruticulosus (Bush croton)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Croton fruticulosus

Croton fruticulosus Engelm. ex Torr.

Bush Croton, Encinilla, Hierba Loca

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A shrub up to 3 feet or more tall. On limestone ledges and slopes. Stems slender, smooth, brown or gray, leaf bearing branchlets yellowish or grayish green and densely covered with stellate hairs visible under a 10x hand lens. Leaf blades up to 3 inches long, ovate to narrower, with smooth to sparsely and finely toothed margins, pointed at the tip, and rounded or slightly lobed at the base. Both surfaces on younger leaves velvety to the touch, the upper frequently olive green, the lower grayish green and densely covered with stellate hairs, aromatic when crushed. Flowers about 1/8 inch wide, on terminal extensions of the branchlets. Fruit a slightly 3 lobed spherical capsule 1/4 inch in diameter, covered with stellate hairs.


From the Image Gallery

35 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate
Leaf Shape: Oblanceolate , Ovate
Inflorescence: Raceme
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec


Native Habitat: Usually on limestone hills, bluffs, canyons, or rocky ravines at altitudes of 1,000-4,500 feet; in Central and Western Texas.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Frequent in brush on limestone uplands.
Conditions Comments: Good shrub for shady spots, fragrant foliage and bright yellow fall color.


Fragrant Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: High

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0610 Collected May 13, 1992 in Medina County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0268 Collected July 4, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

2 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston
Bibref 354 - Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country (1981) Lynch, D.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Croton fruticulosus in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Croton fruticulosus in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Croton fruticulosus


Record Modified: 2023-02-03
Research By: NPC

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