Chinese Croton
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Chinese Croton
E Introduced Photo: Sushain Babu
Common name: Chinese Croton, Blindness tree, Buta buta, Jungle fire plant
Botanical name: Excoecaria cochinchinensis    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Excoecaria bicolor, Excoecaria orientalis

Chinese Croton is a subtropical evergreen open shrub that grows 3-5 feet tall with lanceshaped leaves that are 3-5 inches long and are shiny olive green above and glossy blood red below. The flowers are small and greenish so not showy. The male inflorescences measure 1-2 cm long; female ones 3 to 5 flowered, slightly shorter than the male. Male flower-stalks measure 1.5 mm long, sepals 3, lanceshaped 1.2 mm long, minutely toothed at the tip; stamens protruding the sepal-cup. The female flowers have strong flower-stalk 1.5-2 mm long, bracts and bractlets as in male; sepals 3, slightly fused at the base, ovate, 1.8 mm long 1.2 mm wide. Sap in the eyes is reported to causes blindness. Chinese Croton is native to SE China to Peninsula Malaysia, Taiwan. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant for its beautiful leaves.

Identification credit: Sushain Babu Photographed in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh.

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