Croton argyranthemus

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Croton argyranthemus
Croton argyranthemus Gil.jpg
photo by Gil Nelson
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Croton
Species: C. argyranthemus
Binomial name
Croton argyranthemus
CROT ARGY dist.jpg
Natural range of Croton argyranthemus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Healing croton; silver croton; sandhill croton

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: none

Varieties: none





It is extremely vulnerable to disturbance. One reason for this might be that it relies too much on native species of ants for dispersal.[1] It can be found in longleaf pine communities.[2] It can also be found in sandhill communities.[3] It has been found on the edges of sandy oak-palmetto scrub, clobbered, cutover flatwoods, and pine-turkey oak flatwoods and sand ridges.[4] It has also been found to grow along disturbed areas like the wooded edges of powerline corridors. Growing in either moderate shade to full sun, this species grows in drying sandy loam in the uplands.

Associated species includes Crotonopsis, Paronychia, Tetragonotheca, Berlandiera, and Onosmodium.[4]


It is a summer forb.[1] This species has been observed to flower from March to October with peak inflorescence in May and June; it has been obsereved to fruit from April to September.[4][5]

Seed dispersal

Seeds have elaiosomes, and can be dispersed by ants such as fire ants.[2] The seeds can also be dispersed explosively.[1] Three of the ballistic euphorbs (C. stimulosus, C. argyranthemus and S. sylvatica) produce seeds with elaiosomes and all of the ballistic species are collected by ants, in particular Pogonomyrex badius Latreille (Long and Lakela 1971; N.E. Stamp and J. R. Lucas, personal observation).”[3] This species is thought to be dispersed by ants and/or explosive dehiscence. [6]

Fire ecology

This species is fire tolerant and is included in the flowering plant survery – post burn – in Heuberger’s study.[7]


Pollinated mostly by small bees.[8]

Use by animals

Ants are an agent of seed dispersal.[2] C. argyranthemus is an important game food plant: it is consumed by doves, quail, and deer.[9] It is the larval food plant for the goateed leafwing butterfly. It produces a milky sap to help defend from herbivory.[8]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Kirkman, L. K., K. L. Coffey, et al. (2004). "Ground cover recovery patterns and life-history traits: implications for restoration obstacles and opportunities in a species-rich savanna." Journal of Ecology 92(3): 409-421.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cumberland, M. S. and L. K. Kirkman (2013). "The effects of the red imported fire ant on seed fate in the longleaf pine ecosystem." Plant Ecology 214: 717-724.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Stamp, N. E. and J. R. Lucas (1990). "Spatial patterns and dispersal distances of explosively dispersing plants in Florida sandhill vegetation." Journal of Ecology 78: 589-600.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: June 2014. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, D. Burch, Andre F. Clewell, M. Davis, Patricia Elliot, Robert K. Godfrey, C. Jackson, Walter Kittredge, Gary R. Knight, Robert Kral, Robert L. Lazor, Sidney McDaniel, John Morrill, John B. Nelson, R. A. Norris, Cecil R. Slaughter, John K. Small, S. S. Ward, E. West, Ira L. Wiggins, and Dorothy B. Wiggins. States and Counties: Florida: Alachua, Bay, Clay, Columbia, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gilchrist, Holmes, Jackson, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Marion, Okaloosa, Polk, Santa Rosa, Taylor, Walton, and Washington.
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 8 DEC 2016
  6. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  7. Heuberger, K. A. and F. E. Putz (2003). "Fire in the suburbs: ecological impacts of prescribed fire in small remnants of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) sandhill." Restoration Ecology 11: 72-81.
  8. 8.0 8.1 [[1]]Native Florida Wildflowers. Accessed: April 15, 2016
  9. Hebb, E. A. (1971). "Site preparation decreases game food plants in Florida sandhills." Journal of Wildlife Management 35: 155-162.