Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Dust’-Croton

Croton variegatum ‘Gold Dust’ on 9-24-12, #119-14.

‘Gold Dust’ Croton
Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Dust’
koh-dih-EE-um var-ee-GAY-tum

Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Rumph. ex A.Juss. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Codiaeum. It was given this name and described by Georg Eberhard Rumphius and Adrien Henri Laurent de Jussieu in De Euphorbiacearum Generibus Medicisque in 1824. It was first named Croton variegatus by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.

There are many synonyms for this species which is native to Bismarck Archipelago, Borneo, Fiji, Jawa, Lesser Sunda Island, Maluku, New Guinea, Philippines, Queensland, Santa Cruz Island, Solomon Island, Sulawesi, and Vanuatu.

One day in September of 2012 when I was plant shopping at Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi, the plant department had just received a shipment of plants from Costa Farm. The girls were unboxing several combination planters which had been turned upside-down and they were trying to replant them. The manager offered me one of the boxes for only $3.00 which I gladly accepted. The plants were kind of messed up and one of the plants in the box was this Codiaeum variegatum ‘Gold Dust’.

The photo is a little weird because I had borrowed a camera of a friend. The brightness settings were not set up yet and I didn’t know it until I uploaded the photos. I mentioned it to him and he said he had not used the camera yet…

I have seen many beautiful Croton plants in my lifetime, but this plant was definitely not one of them. I repotted it in its own pot, gave it the necessary TLC, but it soon expired.

Codiaeum variegatum species grows to around 9’ tall. It has beautiful large, leathery leaves. Male and female flowers grow separately on individual inflorescences and the male flowers are white while the female flowers are yellow and have no petals.

Like possibly all members of the Euphorbiaceae family, the stems secrete latex which is a skin irritant for some people. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous and the oil of the plant is violently purgative and is suspected of being a carcinogen.

According to Plants of the World Online, there are 12 accepted species in the Codiaeum genus. According to the Wikipedia, there are several hundred cultivars of Codiaeum variegatum.

Perhaps someday I will have another shot with a Croton. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you.

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