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Products > Excoecaria cochinchinensis
Excoecaria cochinchinensis - Chinese Croton

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Shrub
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: Asia, Southeastern (Asia)
Evergreen: Yes
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Green
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Height: 3-5 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Cool Sun/Light Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 30-32 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Excoecaria cochinchinensis (Chinese Croton) A subtropical evergreen open shrub that grows 3 to 5 feet tall with lanceolate leaves that are 3 to 5 inches long and are shiny olive green above and glossy blood red below. The flowers of this dioecious shrub are small and greenish so not an ornamental factor to the value of this plant. Plant in full coastal sun to light shade - loves to be warm so somewhere with reflected heat would be best and give occasional irrigation, allowing to go slightly dry between watering. Hardy to around 30 F and maybe lower but with some tip damage. Though often listed as non-hardy plant, it has sustained freezing temperatures at the Huntington Botanic Garden where it has been part of the collection for many years and Luen Miller of Monterey Bay Nursery noted it only had light damage at his home in temperatures around 30F in a freeze that occurred in 1999. It is a bit brittle and sap can be irritating, especially to the eyes, so best handle carefully and not a plant to put close to a walkway but otherwise it is a very attractive and pest free plant. Makes a showy accent plant in a warm near frost-free garden or as a container or large hanging basket plant that can be brought under winter protection. The Chinese Croton is native throughout Southeast Asia, from Yunnan through Malaysia where it is used for ornament and for medicinal purposes. The name for the genus comes from the Latin word 'ex-caeco' (excco) meaning "to blind" or "make blind" in reference to the sap of species in the genus that has been reported to cause temporary blindness. The specific epithet derives from the word Cochinchina, an old name for Vietnam and was given to the plant in 1790 by Portuguese Jesuit missionary and botanist Joo de Loureiro in his Flora Cochinchinensis. Other common names include Blindness Tree, Buta Buta and Jungle Fire Plant. We thank Jose Matta of Seaside Nursery for providing a plant to us and for information provided by Luen Miller of Monterey Bay Nursery.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Excoecaria cochinchinensis.