Pineland Croton, Beach Botany

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Pineland Croton, Croton Linearis, is a semi-woody shrub that can grow to a height of 6’, but, more often grows to 1’ to 2’ in height. Green-colored leaves are narrow and slightly elliptic. Leaf branch arrangement is alternate. Leaf texture is leathery. The upside of the leaf is glabrous. Silvery hairs cover the underside. Length is 3” to 4” and about ½” wide. Margins are entire.

The plant is a dioecious perennial. Which means imperfect male and female flowers are established on the same plant. Tiny male flowers rest on a cup shape calyx with 5 triangular sepals. The corolla has with 5 unfused ragged creamy white petals about 1/8” in. length. At the center of the corollas white stamens with pollen bearing white anthers.   Tiny female flowers have no petals just sepals surrounding the female style. The inflorescence is a raceme. Fruit is a 3-part capsule. Blooming occurs year-round.

Habitats are pine rocklands, sandhills and Florida scrubs. Distribution is in 5 Atlantic Counties. Plant family is Euphorbiaceae. There are 12 species in the Genus Linearis. Only one species is not native. The specimen in the photo was found in the Cutting Horse Preserve in Bonita Springs.