Please donate to support our ‘Plants to Save the Planet’ Project. The Project is directed at enabling designers of ‘carbon farms’ and ‘food forests’: agroecosystems of perennial plants, to choose the most appropriate plants for their requirements and site conditions. We are working on a subset of plants in the PFAF database identified as having the most potential for inclusion in such designs. We are adding search terms and icons to those plants pages, and providing a range of search options aligned to categories of plants and crop yields, with Help facilities including videos. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

Croton megalocarpus - Hutch.

Common Name Croton tree
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Dry sawdust may irritate the nose and throat of wood workers[ 299 ]. It has been reported that smoke from the wood irritates the eyes[ 299 ].
Habitats A dominant, upper-canopy tree of evergreen and semi-deciduous forest at elevations from 700 - 2,400 metres, sometimes also in riverine woodland and wooded grassland[ 299 ].
Range East tropical Africa - eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya and southern Somalis, south to Zambia and Mozambique.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Croton megalocarpus Croton tree


ChriKo wikimedia.org
Croton megalocarpus Croton tree
ChriKo wikimedia.org

 

Translate this page:

Summary

Indigenous to Sub-Saharan Africa, Croton megalocarpus is a fast growing deciduous tree that reaches up to 36 m high upon maturity. The bark is dark grey or pale brown in colour. The leaves are long and oval-shaped. The crown is dense and spreading. Plant parts like seeds, roots, and leaves have medicinal functions and are used in the treatment of stomach illnesses, malaria, wound clotting, and pneumonia. The seeds are used in dyeing wool. The wood of C. megalocarpus makes good fuel wood and charcoal. It is resistant to termite attacks and is used for fence posts and poles in construction. The leaves have high nitrogen content and are often used as mulch. Indigenous to ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of lolypop
Croton megalocarpus is a deciduous Tree growing to 25 m (82ft) by 25 m (82ft) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Croton elliotianus Pax

Habitats

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.


A maceration or decoction of the bark is taken as a vermifuge, and is also used to treat whooping cough, pneumonia, stomach-ache, fevers including malaria, and abdominal complaints associated with gall bladder and spleen problems[ 299 ]. Sap from leaves and young twigs are applied to wounds[ 299 ]. The oil has purgative activity and also showed Epstein-Barr virus activating potency[ 299 , 392 ]. Bark extracts showed weak antibacterial activity in in-vitro tests[ 299 ]. From the bark the clerodane diterpene chiromodine has been isolated as a major constituent, together with lupeol, betulin, beta sitosterol and long-chain fatty esters[ 299 ].

Our new book Edible Shrubs is now available.

Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

Read More

Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Agroforestry Uses: A natural pioneer species, it is fast-growing and also has a wide range of uses. It is a very good choice in plantings to re-establish native woodland or to set up woodland gardens[ 299 , K ]. The tree is not grazed by livestock and so is often planted in hedges, live fences, shelterbelts and windbreaks[ 299 , 392 ]. It is often retained when the forest is cleared and is used as a shade tree for coffee plantations[ 299 , 316 ]. Croton megalocarpus trees develop a deep taproot. This makes them quite drought tolerant and allows food crops to be grown underneath[ 299 ]. The foliage provides good mulch[ 299 ]. The croton husks are milled for fertilizer. Croton nuts have relatively high nitrogen content comparatively to typical composts and manures. The fruit shells are used as mulch in vegetable gardens and as a component of potting mixtures[ 299 ]. Animal feeds: Croton seed cake is used in animal feeds. Based on laboratory testing, protein accounts for 25-30% of the croton seed cake compared to comparable seed cakes like canola (18%) and sunflower (20%). The flowers provide nectar for honey bees; the honey produced is dark and has a strong flavour[ 299 ]. Other Uses: Seed oil is tested as bio-fuel[ 299 ]. Seeds have an oil content of about 30% and a protein content of about 50%[ 299 ]. Oil extraction from the seed is done by hand-operated or mechanized screw presses. The oil may be refined in a continuous transesterification reactor to produce bio-fuel of diesel oil quality, with glycerol as a valuable by-product[ 299 ]. The press-cake remaining after oil extraction can be utilized as bio-fuel and as an organic fertilizer[ 299 ]. The seeds can be used to dye wool yellowish[ 299 ]. The heartwood is yellowish white to brownish grey, often with irregular dark brown streaks; it is not distinctly demarcated from the 25 - 50mm wide band of sapwood. The grain is usually straight, texture medium; when freshly sawn it has an unpleasant smell. The wood is medium-weight; hard, strong, moderately durable, being slightly susceptible to termite, dry-wood borer and marine borer attack and liable to attacks by blue stain fungi. It is easy to saw and work with hand tools, but moderately difficult to machine; it usually planes to a smooth and lustrous surface; is resistant to abrasion; nailing, screwing, gluing, varnishing, painting and jointing properties are all satisfactory. The wood is only suitable for sliced veneer. The wood, most commonly known as ?musine?, is used for construction, flooring, stools, mortars, beehives, veneer and plywood. It is suitable for joinery, interior trim, ship building, vehicle bodies, furniture, cabinet work, railway sleepers and agricultural implements[ 299 , 316 ]. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal[ 299 ]. It is highly regarded as firewood but is not recommended for charcoal as the smoke stings the eyes[ 392 ]. The well-dried nuts are reportedly used as a fuel in some areas, mixed with charcoal in cooking stoves[ 303 ].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Croton megalocarpus is a plant of the tropics, where it can be found at elevations from 700 - 2,400 metres. It is most commonly found in regions with a mean annual rainfall of 900 - 1,900 mm, with a dry season of 3 - 4 months and a mean annual temperature of 11 - 26°c[ 299 ]. It prefers light, deep and well-drained soils[ 299 , 392 ]. Established plants are drought tolerant[ 299 ]. Being a natural pioneer of large forest gaps and forest margins, regeneration of this species is often prolific in the wild. It has been reported to become invasive under favourable climatic conditions[ 299 ]. A fast-growing tree in favourable conditions[ 299 , 392 ]. In Kenya seedlings reached a height of 1.7 metres in one year; in Rwanda they were 3 metres tall in 2 years and 11.5 metres in 5 years; whilst in Burundi planted trees were only an average of 3.6 metres tall 7 years after planting, and 15 metres tall with a bole diameter of 24cm after 32 years[ 299 ]. Trees may already start flowering when they are 4 years old. The flowers are short-lived and pollinated by insects such as bees. Fruits take about 5 months to ripen after flowering[ 299 ]. The tree can be managed by lopping, pollarding and coppicing[ 299 , 392 ]. When planted in hedges, plants should be pruned for the first time after 2 years[ 299 ]. Preliminary observations indicate that a yield of 25 - 30 kilos of seed per tree per year is realistic[ 299 ]. At the end of their productive life in bio-fuel plantations, approximately 50 years after planting, trees can be felled for their timber[ 299 ].

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

image

The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now

Propagation

Seed - does not require pre-treatment, but is best sown as soon as it is ripe. The seed is generally sown directly where the tree is to grow, though it is also sometimes sown in a shaded position into individual pots and then planted out later. For fresh seed, a germination rate of around 95% can be expected, with the seeds sprouting within 45 days[ 299 , 392 ]. Because of its high oil content, the seed has a relatively short viability of around 9 months[ 392 ]. Seed stored in plastic containers for up to 1 year at 3°c had a germination rate of 80%[ 299 ].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Croton megalocarpus or Croton tree

Found In

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

Indigenous to ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique.

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.

Reported to become invasive under favourable climatic conditions

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  LMHSNM10 
Croton lechleriSangre De Grado, Dragon's bloodTree12.0 10-12 FLMHNM041
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

 

Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment

Author

Hutch.

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.

Readers comment

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Croton megalocarpus  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.