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Useful Tropical Plants

Croton tiglium

L.

Euphorbiaceae

+ Synonyms

Alchornea vaniotii H.Lév.

Croton acutus Thunb.

Croton arboreus Shecut

Croton birmanicus Müll-Arg.

Croton camaza Perr.

Croton himalaicus D.G.Long.

Croton jamalgota Buch.-Ham.

Croton muricatus Blanco

Croton officinalis (Klotzsch) Alston

Croton pavana Buch.-Ham.

Croton xiaopadou H.S.Kiu.

Halecus verus Raf.

Kurkas tiglium (L.) Raf.

Oxydectes birmanica (Müll.Arg.) Kuntze

Oxydectes blancoana Kuntze

Oxydectes pavana (Buch.-Ham.) Kuntze

Oxydectes tiglium (L.) Kuntze

Tiglium officinale Klotzsch

Common Name: Croton Oil Plant

Croton tiglium
Fruiting stem
Photograph by: Vinayaraj
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Croton tiglium Croton tiglium Croton tiglium

General Information

Croton oil plant is an erect, evergreen shrub or small tree growing up to 7 metres tall[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant has a very long history of herbal use, being employed as a powerful laxative and as an oil to treat a wide range of skin problems. It has been grown for these uses for more than 2,000 years and is still often cultivated nowadays. The plant is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The roots, seeds and seed oil are all locally traded in India and South-East Asia and the oil is exported to Europe[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

All parts of the plant are poisonous[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The seeds are known to be very poisonous, and are used as fish poison or for criminal purposes - four seeds can be a lethal dose for a human adult[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The toxic principles are crotonol, an extremely vesicant resin; and crotin, a delayed-action poison which causes blood-clotting. Symptoms of croton oil poisoning are firstly pain at the back of the throat, then in the anus. A dose of bismuth is an immediate antidote[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
742
Title
Flora of Thailand - Euphorbiaceae
Publication
 
Author
van Welzen P.C.
Website
http://www.nationaalherbarium.nl/thaieuph/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent site with masses of information about the species of Euphorbia found in Thailand.

Range

E. Asia - China, Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.

Habitat

Montane sparse forests, limestone shrublands at elevations of 300 - 700 metres in southern China[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
]. Occurs in a wide range of vegetation and soil types at elevations up to 1,500 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Tree
Height7.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of the lowland tropics and subtropics, it tolerates an annual rainfall of 600 - 1,200 mm and an annual temperature in the range 21 - 27.5°c[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Succeeds in soils with a pH ranging from 4.5 - 7.5[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. Succeeds in very poor soils[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
Plants start flowering after 18 months, Seed yield in the third year may be 200 - 750 kg seed/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. By the sixth year plants have reached full bearing and yields are 750 - 1,000, occasionally to 2,000 kg/ha[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The seed oil of Croton tiglium is commonly used in laboratories throughout the world for its vesicant properties. The phorbol esters isolated from the oil also have interesting tumour-promoting or tumour-inhibiting properties, and although much research has been done, more is needed to elucidate their future potential. As the other parts of the plant are poisonous as well, it might be worthwhile investigating their chemistry and pharmacology. A large number of pharmaceutical applications of Croton tiglium are being patented in China. The extensive ongoing research may lead to new developments elsewhere too[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Extreme caution should be taken with all medical applications of this plant in view of its extreme toxicity[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Only the seeds have been chemically analysed in detail. They contain 30 - 45% of a fixed oil named croton oil and about 20% protein. The composition of the oil varies with the method of extraction. The oil comprises the fatty acids oleic acid 37%, linoleic acid 19%, myristic acid 7.5%, arachidic acid 1.5%, palmitic acid 1%, formic acid 1%, acetic acid 0.5%, stearic acid 0.5% and smaller amounts of butyric acid, lauric acid, tiglic acid and valeric acid. The oil also contains a group of proteins called ‘crotin’, about 3.5% croton resin (‘crotonol’), a glucoside called crotonoside (isoguanosine), and a non-volatile unsaturated fatty acid responsible for the purgative properties. Croton oil causes severe inflammation on the skin[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Crotin is a mixture of the toxic proteins croton globulin and croton albumin. It has haemolytic and blood coagulant properties with a delayed poisonous effect. In humans erythrocytes are merely deformed and rapid antibody formation is induced[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The vesicant and irritant properties of the seed oil are mainly due to croton resin, which contains esters of long-chain fatty acids and the diterpene phorbol. Such phorbol esters also show paradoxical biological activity, some being strongly co-carcinogenic, others having anti-cancer activity[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The seed and seed oil have long been used in tropical Asia as a strong purgative, cathartic and poison[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Malaysia one seed is eaten as a purgative by adults and coconut milk is drunk to stop the effect.
The seed oil was formerly included in several pharmacopoeias as a purgative, but because the oil is not stable, it has proved unreliable and has therefore been excluded[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The oil is a strong vesicant but diluted it can be employed as a counterirritant for various skin affections[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The seed oil and bark were widely used in folk medicine as a remedy for cancerous sores and tumours, carbuncles, colds, dysentery, fever, paralysis, scabies, schistosomiasis, snakebite, sore throat and toothache[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The powdered seeds mixed with dates are eaten as a purgative[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The root is used as an abortifacient and purgative[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

The leaves are used as a poultice to treat snakebites[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Plants are grown as a monocrop or as an intercrop with cacao or coffee, providing some shade[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant has some potential in suppressing the very invasive lalang grass, Imperata cylindrica[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Other Uses

An extract of the seed can be used as an insecticide for field application and in stored cereals and pulses[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Aqueous extracts of latex and stem bark showed molluscicidal activity against the freshwater snails Lymnaea acuminata and Indoplanorbis exustus; at high doses these extracts were also lethal to the freshwater fish Channa punctatus[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The seed oil may also be used in the production of soap and candles. However, for illumination it can only be used outdoors as the smoke is toxic[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Propagation

Seed -
Cuttings
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2018-11-12. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Croton+tiglium>

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