One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A strong-scented tree, shrub, or herbaceous plant of the spurge family, native to tropical and warm regions. Several kinds yield timber and other commercially important products.
Genus Croton, family Euphorbiaceae: numerous species, including C. laccifer, the host plant for the lac insect
- ‘Gardeners also use crotons, hardy bushes with a million variegations in purple, yellow and green, heliconias, for their slender stems and banana-like leaves, and also flowering trees (which often bloom later in the year).’
- ‘It belongs to the very large Euphorbia family along with other popular ornamental plants such as poinsettias and crotons.’
- ‘Many of his imports - including hibiscus, azalea, cassia, magnolia, oleander, croton and jasmine - permanently altered the Jamaican scene.’
- ‘Feathers, flowers, and the leaves of croton plants were used to decorate women's hair, and were also placed in arm-bands (worn on the upper arms).’
2A small evergreen tree or shrub of the Indo-Pacific region, which is grown for its colourful ornamental foliage.
Genus Codiaeum, family Euphorbiaceae: several species
- ‘Pisonia has large leaves and could be said to look similar to crotons except without the yellow and red colours.’
- ‘To add more colour to the city, the Chief Minister has also suggested that the civic agency could grow crotons on road medians.’
- ‘Even the courtyard pots - planted with bougainvillea, crotons, impatiens, pansies, pentas, and more - require little attention beyond regular irrigation with a watering can.’
- ‘Shrubs don't have to flower to be interesting - team palms with cordylines and crotons for their fabulous foliage.’
Modern Latin, from Greek krotōn ‘sheep tick’ (from the shape of the seeds of the croton in croton (sense 1)).
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