Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed, Texas Goatweed
Synonyms of Croton capitatus (8) (Updated on 12-21-22 from Plants of the World Online): Croton capitatus var. genuinus Müll.Arg. (1866)(not. validly publ.), Croton subtomentosis Shecut (1806)(nom. illeg.), Heptallon capitatum (Michx.) Raf. (1838), Heptallon fruticosum Raf. (1840), Heptallon graveolens Raf. (1825), Heptallon lanceolatum Raf. (1840), Oxydectes capitata (Michx.) Kuntze (1891), Pilinophytum capitatum (Michx.) Klotzsch (1841)
Croton capitatus Michx. is the accepted scientific name for the Hogwort. It was named and described by André Michaux in Flora Boreali-Americana in 1803.
The genus, Croton L., was named as such and described by Carl von Linnaeus in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
As of 12-21-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 1,140 species in the Croton genus. It is a member of the plant family Euphorbiaceae with 227 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO. The number of species in the genus and genera in the family fluctuates quite often.
The above distribution map for Croton capitatus from Plants of the World Online shows the same range as the USDA Plants Database map. Areas in green are where the species is native and purple is where it has been introduced. The map on the Plants of the World Online page for the species shows it is also introduced to New South Wales, Australia. The species may be found in other areas but has not been reported yet.
The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH POSITIVE ID.
There were a few small colonies of Croton capitatus growing in the pasture toward the back of the farm when the above photo was taken on July 16 in 2019. This interesting species is commonly known as Hogwort, Wooly Croton, Goatweed, and probably others. Its branched stems are covered with light brown or white, star-shaped (stellate), wooly hairs that give it a whitish appearance.
While their flowers aren’t that interesting at first they are somewhat unusual. The cluster of flowers consists of male flowers toward the tip and female flowers below. Male flowers have 5 tiny white petals and 10-14 anthers. The female flowers don’t have petals but have 6-9 calyx lobes which are split 2-3 times making a total of 12-24 lobes. The fruits are about 1/4” wide and contain only three seeds each.
Hogwort contains Croton Oil which is said t be a powerful laxative. Its seeds are eaten by quail.
Hopefully, I will be able to take more detailed photos of the Croton capitatus in 2020. There are several websites listed below with great photos and technical botanical language. Bioimages has a lot of great photos for this species which you can view by clicking HERE.
I think it was in September when I was checking on a friend’s cattle when I noticed A LOT of Croton capitatus in his pasture but I didn’t have my camera. There never seemed to be that many on my farm, but I found a few on October 1 in 2021 in the south hayfield.
I always like their silvery green leaves that appear to have whitish-colored margins. They have neat, dainty flowers that I always have a hard time getting close-ups of.
Of course, the whitish cast comes from all the fuzz.
I was walking through the back pasture on October 12 and noticed quite a few Croton capitatus. More than I had ever noticed before.
They weren’t very tall because the grass had been cut for hay.
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the family farm and in other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the blog). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a horticulturalist I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.
I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would enjoy hearing from you.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF MISSOURI (GENUS/SPECIES)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
NOTE: The data (figures, maps, accepted names, etc.) may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates. Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. Some of the links may use a name that is a synonym on other sites. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates “at least” once a year and when I write new pages or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂