croton (krōˈtən) [key], any of several species of Codiaeum that are widely cultivated as ornamentals and houseplants. The most popular species is C. variegatum, which has many cultivated forms of highly colored variegated leaves. Croton is also used as the common name for all species of the genus Croton, some of which are used as medicinals. These include C. tiglium, the source of croton oil, a purgative, and "sangre de grado," C. lechleri, an important folk medicine in western Amazonia. Both Croton and Codiaeum are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Euphorbiales, family Euphorbiaceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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