Sand Croton, Tooth-Leaved Croton, Tropic Croton, Vente Conmingo
(Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis)
KROH-ton glan-doo-LOW-su sep-ten-tree-oh-NAH-liss
Synonyms of Croton glandulosus (5) (Updated on 12-22-22 from Plants of the World Online): Croton glandulosus var. genuinus Müll.Arg., Decarinium glandulosum (L.) Raf., Geiseleria glandulosa (L.) Klotzsch, Oxydectes glandulosa (L.) Kuntze, Oxydectes glandulosa var. genuina Kuntze
Synonyms of Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis (8) (Updated on 12-21-22 from Plants of the World Online): Croton corchorifolius Geiseler, Croton glandulosus var. angustifolius Müll.Arg., Croton glandulosus var. crenatifolius A.M.Ferguson, Croton glandulosus var. shortii A.M.Ferguson, Croton glandulosus var. simpsonii A.M.Ferguson, Croton herbaceus Vell., Decarinium latifolium Raf., Pleopadium ciliatum Raf.
Croton glandulosus L. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Croton. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.
Accepted infraspecific names (7) (Updated on 12-22-22): Croton glandulosus var. arenicola (Small) B.W.van Ee, P.E.Berry & Ginzbarg (2009), Croton glandulosus var. floridanus (A.M.Ferguson) R.W.Long (1970), Croton glandulosus var. glabratus Urb. (1899), *Croton glandulosus var. glandulosus (autonym), Croton glandulosus var. lindheimeri Müll.Arg. (1866), Croton glandulosus var. pubentissimus Croizat (1945), Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis Müll.Arg. (1866). *When an infraspecific taxon is named, an autonym (“type-specimen”) is automatically generated whose description is closest to the (original) species. Infraspecific taxa, including the autonym, have their own synonyms.
Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis was named and described as such by Johannes (Jean) Müller Argoviensis in Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis in 1966.
As of 12-22-22 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 glandulosus var. septentrionalis is from Plants of the World Online. The map on the USDA Plants Database for the United States is similar. There are six varieties of Croton glandulosus with the type specimen (C. glandulosus var. glandulosus) being found in southern Mexico through mid-South America. Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis has the widest range in the United States and Mexico and is the only C. glandulosus found in Missouri.
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. However, in this case, many observations of Croton glandulosus are actually Croton glandulosus var. septentrionalis. That is fine, but you just need to be aware there are subtle differences. The maps on iNaturalist and continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE SEVERAL LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH A BETTER POSITIVE ID.
I took these photos from a few plants I found growing in one small area in the pasture in the back of the farm. The farm is in Pettis County in west-central Missouri. Henry County is across the street. The pasture was used for hay in 2019 and 2020 so I didn’t get to check on this plant until after the hay was cut.
Plants found in Missouri, and most of the species range, are assigned to Croton glandulosus var septentrionalis.
The greenish-to-brown stems sometimes grow from the main stems in irregular whorls. The stems are densely covered with stellate hairs.
An interesting feature is its abundance of stellate (star-shaped) hairs from top to bottom.
Most of the 3/4-3” leaves grow along the stem(s) in an alternate manner, but a few may be opposite or whorled (below the flower stems). Leaves can be oblong-lanceolate, narrowly oblong, or oblong-elliptic, and are finely toothed. The tips are more or less bluntly pointed. The upper surface of the leaves are sparsely covered with white stellate hairs.
The undersides of the leaves are moderately covered. The brown petioles (leaf stems) also have white stellate (star-shaped) hairs.
Croton glandulosus blooms from July-October on short racemes or in clusters on top of the branches from upper leaf axils. Plants are monoecious meaning both male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers are on the same plant. In this case, the male flowers are on the upper part of the stalk while the female flowers are on the lower part. Male flowers have 5 white petals and 7-13 stamens. Female flowers, 1-4, have 5 sepals and 3 odd-looking styles. The calyces on both male and female flowers have white stellate hairs. Some websites sort of disagree and says the female flowers have petals and the male flowers don’t instead of visa versa…
Ovaries of the female flowers develop into 3-celled seed capsules. Some information suggests the seeds are somewhat dehiscent which means they spread by propulsion.
Croton glandulosus is an interesting annual wildflower that grows to around 1 1/2’ tall or more from a fine taproot with lateral spreading lateral roots. They like full to part sun and fairly sandy soil. They can be found in pastures, prairies, glades, fields, ditches, along roadsides, and railroads (ETC.).
I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the family farm and in other areas. The farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street, and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 250 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). 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 few horticulturalists 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. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. 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 especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES/VAR.)
USDA PLANTS DATABASE (SPECIES/VAR.)
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-WEED ID GUIDE
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
MARYLAND BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
ALABAMA PLANT ATLAS
NOTE: The figures 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. 🙂