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Croton lechleri - Müll.Arg.

Common Name Sangre De Grado, Dragon's blood
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Secondary forest.
Range S. America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Croton lechleri Sangre De Grado, Dragon

Dick Culbert flickr
Croton lechleri Sangre De Grado, Dragon
por natikka arteyfotografia.com.ar


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Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri) is a flowering plant with a broad but open crown native to north western South America. It grows up to 20 meters in height with bole diameter of usually 30 cm. It is also known as Sangre de Drago. It is characterized by its thick red latex that has medicinal properties. It is used as a liquid bandage for wounds and other skin-related injuries and disorders. It is an effective antiviral treatment and is also used in the treatment of tumours. Native to northwestern South America. Also known as: Sangre de Grado (Peruvian Spanish), Sangre de Drago (Ecuadorian Spanish), Dragon's blood.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Croton lechleri is an evergreen Tree growing to 12 m (39ft) by 12 m (39ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


C. draco cordatus Müll.Arg. Oxydectes lechleri (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Antibacterial  Antifungal  Antihaemorrhoidal  Antiinflammatory  Antipruritic  Antitumor  Antiviral  Cancer  
Odontalgic  Skin  Stings  Vulnerary

Sangre de grado is a common name for several trees in the genus Croton - all have a red sap and can be used interchangeably. The sap is a popular and effective herbal treatment, and so it is commonly harvested from the wild for both local use and for trade. It is also an ingredient of commercial cosmetic preparations. The red sap or latex (and also its bark) has a long history of indigenous use in the rainforest and in South America. The curative power of the sap was widely known throughout the indigenous tribes of Mexico, Peru, and Ecuador. Modern research has shown that it is a very effective treatment for a wide range of injuries and disorders, particularly relating to the skin; both internal and external ulcers; is an effective antiviral and also helps in the treatment of tumours[ 318 ]. The resin or sap is a storehouse of phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), simple phenols, diterpenes, phytosterols, and biologically active alkaloids and lignans Scientists have attributed many of the biologically active properties of the sap (especially its wound-healing capacity) to two main 'active' constituents: an alkaloid named taspine, and a lignan named dimethylcedrusine[ 318 ]. Taspine has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antitumor and antiviral actions, and to be active against the herpes virus[ 318 ]. The lignan 'dimethylcedrusine' has been shown to play a central role in the resin's effective wound-healing action. The study revealed that the crude resin stimulated the contraction of wounds, helped in the formation of a crust/scab at the wound site, regenerated skin more rapidly, and assisted in the formation of new collagen[ 318 ]. Other phytochemicals, including phenolic compounds, proanthocyanidins, and diterpenes, have shown potent antibacterial activity (against E. Coli and Bacillus subtilis) as well as wound-healing properties[ 318 ]. Research has shown that the resin is a potent, cost-effective treatment for gastrointestinal ulcers and distress via antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and sensory afferent-dependent actions[ 318 ]. The resin has also shown an in vitro effect against stomach cancer and colon cancer cells[ 318 ]. It inhibits the growth of a human myelogenous leukaemia cell line and also prevents cells from mutating in test tube studies[ 318 ]. The sap is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antipruritic, antitumor, haemostatic and vulnerary[ 318 ]. It is used internally in the treatment of intestinal and stomach ulcers; upper respiratory viruses; stomach viruses; and HIV[ 318 , 355 ]. For internal use, the traditional remedy is 10 - 15 drops in a small amount of liquid, taken 1-3 times daily (be prepared, however; it tastes quite dreadful)[ 318 ]. It is taken as a douche for relieving vaginal discharge[ 318 ]. The sap is painted on wounds to staunch bleeding, accelerate healing, and to seal and protect injuries from infection. The sap dries quickly and forms a barrier, much like a 'second skin'. It is used as a treatment on wounds, insect bites and stings, skin disorders, fractures, and haemorrhoids., Other uses include treating inflamed or infected gums, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, for haemorrhaging after childbirth, and for a wide range of skin disorders[ 318 , 355 ]. For external use, the resin is rubbed directly on the affected area several times daily and allowed to dry. Please note: the resin is red! It will temporarily stain the skin a reddish-brown (which will wash off), but it will permanently stain clothing. Rubbing the resin in the palm of the hand first or directly where applied will thicken the resin into a thin, lighter coloured paste, which helps form a second skin on top of a wound or rash and reduces staining[ 318 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Agroforestry Uses: The tree has an open, though broad crown. It intercrops well with smaller trees[ 355 ]. Other Uses: None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Grows best in a well-drained, fertile soil[ 355 ]. A fast-growing tree[ 355 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - Seedlings are very delicate and frequently die or succumb to grasshoppers in the wild[ 355 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Sangre de Grado (Croton lechleri). Also known as: Sangre de Grado (Peruvian Spanish), Sangre de Drago (Ecuadorian Spanish), Dragon's blood.

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native to northwestern South America

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Chrozophora tinctoriaDyer's Croton, GiradolPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHSNM102
Croton megalocarpusCroton treeTree25.0 10-12 FLMNM024
Croton palanostigmaSangre De Grado, Dragon's bloodTree12.0 10-12 FLMNM042
Croton salutarisSangre De Grado, Dragon's bloodTree12.0 10-12 FLMNM040
Croton tigliumCroton Oil Plant. Croton, Purging croton.Tree7.0 10-12 MLMHNDM032

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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