Trees, shrubs, or herbs, monoecious or rarely dioecious, stellate-pubescent or lepidote, usually aromatic. Leaves alternate or occasionally clustered or verticillate, simple or lobate, margins entire or dentate, petiolate or sessile; stipules present or absent. Inflorescence terminal or axillary spikes, heads, racemes or thyrses with proximal solitary female flowers and distal male flowers. Male flowers with calyx of (3–)5(–6) segments; petals absent or (3–)5(–6); stamens (2–)4–100(–350), anthers 2-celled, dehiscing longitudinally. Female flowers with calyx absent or with (3–)5(–10) segments, petals absent or 5; ovary 1–4-locular, ovule 1, style 1–3, recurved, simple, bifid or multifid. Fruit a capsule, loculicidally dehiscent into 2 or 3 valves, or septicidally dehiscent into 3 2-valved mericarps, or sometimes drupe or berry-like; seed ellipsoid or oblong, 1 per locule, caruncle small or absent.
About 700 species, mostly throughout tropical and subtropical regions; 31 species in Australia.
The presence of Croton verreauxii Baillon in Victoria is in need of further investigation. A specimen at MEL is from a plant cultivated from material purportedly collected near Mt Kaye in East Gippsland. Subsequent searches of the area have failed to relocate the species. It is a rainforest shrub or small tree otherwise known from the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales. The leaves are elliptic, have toothed or sometimes virtually entire margins, are glabrous and have a pair of stalked glands at the base of the lamina. The flowers are small, yellowish-green, and arranged in terminal racemes 3–5 cm long. The fruit is a 3-lobed, more or less globose, orange-brown capsule about 6 mm diam.
Forster, P.I. (2003). A taxonomic revision of Croton L. (Euphorbiaceae) in Australia Austrobaileya , Austrobaileya 6(3): 410-412.