From the Greek kroton — a tick, apparently a fanciful allusion to the ‘tick-like’ seeds.
Herbs, lianes, shrubs or small trees, annual or perennial, male and female flowers on the same plant or not, evergreen or deciduous; stems and foliage without latex. Indumentum of simple or compound hairs and scales in various combinations. Stipules entire or lobed, generally inconspicuous, soon shed. Leaves alternate to subopposite, stalkless to stalked, simple and usually unlobed, palmi- or penninerved, often with stalkless or stalked glands at blade base or on leaf stalk; margins entire or denticulate to scalloped. Inflorescences terminal or axillary, racemose or spike-like, solitary, uni- or bisexual and androgynous, flowers in bracted clusters with a single involucre.male flowers stalkless to stalked; calyx lobes 4-6, overlapping or edge to edge, more or less equal; petals 4-6, free, usually shorter than sepals; stamens 5-50, filaments free and attached to a slightly raised hairy receptacle. Female flowers stalkless to stalked; calyx lobes 4-6, overlapping or edge to edge; petals usually absent; disk annular, or of separate glands or absent; ovary 1-3(4)-chambered, ovules 1 per chamber; styles shortly fused at base, divided into 2 to multifid. Fruits capsular, dehiscent, 1-3-lobed, surface smooth and variously hairy. Seeds ovoid, obovoid, ellipsoid or roundish; carunculate, non-arilloid.
Over 800 species in the tropics and subtropics, with 29 species in Australia. 3 native species are cultivated.
Seeds or cuttings.
Foliage with star-shaped hairs and/or peltate scales.
Airy Shaw (1980),Webster (1993).
Source: (2002). Euphorbiaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.