Croton capitatus-Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed

Croton capitatus (Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed) on 9-6-18, #503-14.

Hogwort, Woolly Croton, Goatweed, Texas Goatweed

Croton capitatus

KROH-ton  kap-ih-TAY-tus

Synonyms of Croton capitatusCroton capitatus var. genuinus Müll.Arg., Heptallon capitatum (Michx.) Raf., Heptallon fruticosum Raf., Heptallon graveolens Raf., Heptallon lanceolatum Raf., Oxydectes capitata (Michx.) Kuntze, Pilinophytum capitatum (Michx.) Klotzsch

Croton capitatus Michx. is the correct and 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. According to Plants of the World Online by By Kew, there are 1,158 species in the Croton genus (there were 1,173 when I first wrote this page). Croton is a member of the Euphorbiaceae Family along with 226 other genera. Those numbers are from Plants of the World Online as of 8-27-19 when I am updating this page, but those numbers can change anytime. We even lost a genus in the family since I first wrote this page. 


Distribution map of Croton capitatus from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved on 2-13-2020.

The above distribution map for Croton capitatus from Plants of the World Online shows the same range as the USDA Plants Database map. Ares in green are where the species is native and purple 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 not reported yet.

Please check the links at the bottom of the page for further information and for a better positive ID.


Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-11.

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.


Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-12.

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. 


Croton capitatus (Hogwort) on 7-16-19, #602-13.

Hogwort contains Croton Oil which is said t be a powerful laxative. Its seeds are eaten by quail.


Croton capitatus (Hogwort) photo of the stems retrieved from on 2-13-20.

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. Once I take more photos I will use my own and write more detailed descriptions.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and 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 I would enjoy hearing from you.