Hairy Croton
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Hairy Croton
A Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Hairy Croton
Botanical name: Croton hirtus    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Croton aberrans, Brachystachys hirta, Oxydectes aberrans

Hairy Croton is an erect annual herb to 1 m tall, with unpleasant smell. Stem is covered in rigid star-shaped hairs 2-3 mm long. Leaves are star-shaped-hairy on both sides, ovate-rhombic, 2-5-7.5 - 1-5 cm, with toothed margins; leaf base glandular, with two stalked glands at leaf-stalk tip. Flowers are borne in racemes at branch-ends, 1.5-4 cm long. Female flowers are at base of raceme, green; calyx persistent, with unequal sepals. Petals are tiny or absent; ovary star-shaped bristly, 3-celled. Male flowers are placed higher in raceme; sepals 5, equal; petals 5, white; stamens 10 or 11, prominent, white. Fruit is a 3-lobed, splitting, globular capsule, about 4 mm diameter. Seeds 3 mm long, shiny grey-brown, finely and netveinedly ribbed, with a tiny white aril. Hairy Croton is found in West Indies, Central and South America and Tropical Asia. In India it is seen in Peninsular India, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed near Kunigal, Karnataka.

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