Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Woolly croton

with 9 comments

Click for greater clarity.

Here’s yet another native plant making its first appearance in these pages, Croton capitatus var. lindheimeri, whose fuzzy appearance tells you why it’s known as woolly croton. Like snow-on-the-mountain, snow-on-the-prairie, fire-on-the-mountain, and various other members of the Euphorbia family, this species has small and rather unshowy flowers, a few of which you see on the left side of the photograph. The one closest to the center of the picture, with a bit of pale orange color, is female, and the others, with their pollen-bearing anthers, are male. To the right of the flowers, larger, are some seed capsules that seem to have reached their full size.

I took this picture on October 11 at Southeast Metropolitan Park. To see the places in the south-central and southeastern United States where this species grows, you can consult the state-clickable map at the USDA website.

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 3, 2012 at 6:20 AM

9 Responses

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  1. Months ago, you posted another fuzzy “something” that reminded me of the covering on certain vintage toys and decorative items. I never found an example. This time, I was successful. The pieces I’m remembering were chalkware, and often were marketed as “flocked” or “fuzzy” chalkware. Here’s a pair of fuzzy cocker spaniels. When I look at these marvelous woolly crotons, I can remember the feel of my fuzzy chalkware bear!


    November 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    • I’ve heard of (and often use) hardware and software, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of chalkware. So it’s reciprocal: now you know about woolly croton, and I about chalkware. That said, I can’t say I’ll flock to it, even if flocked, but will no doubt keep fuzzing my way through the croton, which you can expect to come across in coastal counties, too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2012 at 9:13 AM

  2. Snow on the mountain as I learned to call this plant grows, in great abundance in the countryside where I live. It thrives in places that have been over grazed, neglected, or what have you. This plant or another variation (if this is not what you posted) is common along with nightshade and broom weed ( I don’t know the botanical names for these plants. Sometimes it is just better to see this than a field of cactus or Johnson grass. Nice macro of this plant.


    November 3, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    • I’m glad you like this macro. If you follow the first link in the text above, you can see the plant that’s most often called snow-on-the-mountain, which is in the same family, Euphorbiaceae, as Croton but in a different genus, Euphorbia. That said, I can understand why people seeing the fuzziness of this woolly croton might be led to think of snow. As you pointed out, the various species of Croton and Euphorbia are good at taking over abused land in central Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 3, 2012 at 7:34 PM

  3. […] you saw a closeup of the flowers and fruit of Croton capitatus var. lindheimeri, known as woolly croton because of the overall fuzziness of […]

  4. Beautiful! I hear your weather is still warm and sunny, we need some of that here to dry out!

    Bonnie Michelle

    November 5, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    • Yes, afternoon temperatures in Austin have been in the 80s, though the forecast for tomorrow’s high is “only” in the mid-70s. We still have lots of wildflowers of various types.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM

  5. […] Metropolitan Park on October 30th during the same session that produced the recent pictures of wolly croton and a katydid. Note the bitterweed flowers in the background and the young mesquite trees at the […]

  6. […] 13th, there was a drying colony of doveweed, Croton monanthogynus, a low-growing relative of the woolly croton you saw seven weeks ago. Because of the doveweed’s position close to the ground and because […]

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