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
- ‘Many of his imports - including hibiscus, azalea, cassia, magnolia, oleander, croton and jasmine - permanently altered the Jamaican scene.’
- ‘It belongs to the very large Euphorbia family along with other popular ornamental plants such as poinsettias and crotons.’
- ‘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).’
- ‘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 colorful ornamental foliage.
Genus Codiaeum, family Euphorbiaceae: several species, in particular C. variegatum, many varieties of which are popular houseplants
- ‘Shrubs don't have to flower to be interesting - team palms with cordylines and crotons for their fabulous foliage.’
- ‘Even the courtyard pots - planted with bougainvillea, crotons, impatiens, pansies, pentas, and more - require little attention beyond regular irrigation with a watering can.’
- ‘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.’
Modern Latin, from Greek krotōn ‘sheep tick’ (from the shape of the seeds of the croton in croton (sense 1)).
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