Herbs & Plants

Croton gratissimus

Botanical Name: Croton gratissimus
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Croton
Species:C. gratissimus

Synonyms: Oxydectes gratissima

Common Names: Lavender croton, Lavender fever berry

Habitat: Croton gratissimus occurs in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the northern parts of South Africa. It is often found in rocky terrain.

Croton gratissimus is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub up to 3 metres tall, or a slender tree with a ‘V’-shaped crown; it can grow up to 20 metres tall, but only up to 10 metres in the south of its range. It has a scaly bark and silvery leaves, rusty-scaly below, and has an attractive appearance. It is often planted in towns and villages. The crushed, slender-petioled leaves are pleasingly and distinctively fragrant with an aromatic oil reminiscent of sweet flag. The leaves are strikingly silver on the under surface and dotted with brown glands. The inflorescence is a yellow-flowered raceme up to 10 cm long and borne terminally. Rust-coloured flower buds, which are present throughout winter, open after the first rains. The fruit is a 3-lobed capsule, about 10 mm in diameter and densely scaly. The tree’s bark yields the toxalbumin crotin and the diterpene crotonin. CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Cultivation: Most Croton species are relatively indifferent to their habitat and can grow on a wide range of soils in both disturbed and undisturbed vegetation.

Propagation: Through Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed. Germination takes place within 20 – 30 days. When the seedlings are 5 – 6cm tall, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out when 60cm tall.

Edible Uses: The fruits, like the bark, are aromatic. They are used to spice food. The seeds are used to flavour tea.

Medicinal Uses:
The bark-slash emits an aromatic smell. An infusion of the bark is used in cases of malaria.
The charred and powdered bark is used to treat bleeding gums.

The leaves are considered strengthening and vermifuge. A soup made of them is given to dysentery cases. A leaf-decoction is used as a wash, and is taken internally, for the treatment of dysentery, fever, convulsions, headache etc.

The shoots and roots are used as a tonic, febrifuge and for the relief of menstrual pain.

The root is used as an aperient.

The seeds are said to have medicinal use.

Examination of Nigerian material has shown the presence of a trace of alkaloid in the stem and leaf.

Other Uses:
The fruits, like the bark, are aromatic. They are used to prepare a sort of scent. The fruits are crushed and the pleasant-smelling powder used as a cosmetic.
An extract of the seeds is used as an ingredient in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner.
The young branches are pleasantly aromatic; they can be dried and then powdered them to make a perfume.

The wood is pale yellow, fine-grained, hard and gives a good polish. The stems are used for hut-posts and beams, in default of other timber

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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