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Published In: Flora Boreali-Americana (Michaux) 2: 215. 1803. (Fl. Bor.-Amer.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/11/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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5. Croton monanthogynus Michx. (one-seeded croton, prairie tea)

Map 1660, Pl. 378 j, k

Plants monoecious, densely pubescent with minute, stellate hairs (less densely on the upper surface of the leaf blades), the branches 0.2–0.3 mm long, sometimes slightly unequal and with 1 longer branch raised from the surface. Stems 20–40(–60) cm long, usually with 1 or few whorls of branches at or below the midpoint and repeatedly dichotomously branched above these. Leaves alternate, short- to long-petiolate, the petiole without large, saucer-shaped glands at the tip. Leaf blades 1–4 cm long, ovate to oblong-ovate or oblong-elliptic, rounded, angled or occasionally truncate at the base, mostly rounded at the tip (sometimes bluntly pointed or with an abrupt, minute, sharp point), the margins entire, the undersurface paler than the upper surface. Inflorescences appearing terminal, axillary, and between the dichotomous upper stem branches, mostly short, dense, spikelike racemes (often appearing as dense clusters) with pistillate flowers toward the base and staminate flowers toward the tip. Staminate flowers with the calyx deeply (3)4(5)-lobed, 1.5–2.5 mm long; the petals (4)5, 1.5–2.5 mm long, white; the stamens 3–8. Pistillate flowers with the calyx 1.5–2.0 mm long at flowering, becoming slightly enlarged to 2–3 mm long at fruiting, 5-lobed; the petals absent; the ovary 2-locular, the 2 styles each deeply 2-lobed. Fruits 3.5–4.0 mm in length, 2.5–3.5 mm in diameter, ovate in outline, not flattened, 1-seeded, dehiscent. Seeds 2.8–3.2 mm long, broadly elliptic to nearly circular in outline, slightly flattened, the caruncle present as a small knob. 2n=16. May–September.

Scattered nearly throughout the state but absent or uncommon in the eastern half of the Glaciated Plains Division (eastern U.S. west to Nebraska and Arizona; Mexico). Glades, upland prairies, tops of bluffs, savannas, openings of dry upland forests, and occasionally banks of streams and rivers; also pastures, old fields, railroads, roadsides, and dry, open, disturbed areas.

Steyermark (1963) noted that, although this plant can poison livestock like other species of Croton, it is usually avoided by cattle because of its bitter flavor. He also noted that turkeys eat the seeds and that deer browse the foliage without apparent digestive tract problems.



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