Croton gratissimus Burch.
var. gratissimus

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Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save Valley

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Photo: Bart Wursten
Hot Springs, Save Valley

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Photo: Rob Burrett
National Botanic Garden, Harare

Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

Photo: 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: Gunukira (Shona) Lavender croton (English) Mubangwa (Shona) Mufandemengwe (Shona) Mufarata (Shona)
Frequency: Common
Status: Native
Description:
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.
Notes: It is distinguished from var. subgratissimus by the absence of stellate hairs on the upper surface of the leaves. 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: (metres) 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
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
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
Literature:

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).

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).

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 Zambia: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Croton gratissimus
African Plant Database: Croton gratissimus
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Croton gratissimus
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Croton gratissimus
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Croton gratissimus
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Croton gratissimus
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Croton gratissimus
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Croton gratissimus
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Croton gratissimus
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Croton gratissimus
Ispot Southern Africa: Croton gratissimus
JSTOR Plant Science: Croton gratissimus
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Croton gratissimus
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Croton gratissimus
The Plant List (version 1.1): Croton gratissimus
Tropicos: Croton gratissimus


Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-18

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2018). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Croton gratissimus var. gratissimus.
https://www.zimbabweflora.co.zw/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=134730, retrieved 19 September 2018

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