Croton gratissimus is widely distributed and in South Africa and occurs in KwaZulu-Natal midlands, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. This tree is sometimes low branched with a fairly dense roundish crown. The lavender feverberry is a small tree that can either be deciduous or semi-deciduous depending on climatic and soil conditions.
Leaves of this tree are simple, spirally arranged, dark green on top and silvery white underneath. When crushed, the leaves of Croton gratissimus emit a strong aromatic fragrance. As the foliage matures, it develops a burnt orange tint which contrasts sharply with the younger leaves. The branches of this tree are brittle and have a drooping growth habit. Flowering takes place from September to November and spiky yellowish flowers are produced. This is followed by 3 chambered, greyish capsules covered in red brown dots. The seedpods explode to disperse the seeds.
This versatile tree serves as a larval host specie for moths and butterflies. The fruit is also very popular with bird species like crested guinea fowl, red-eyed doves, bulbuls and francolins. This tree creates a beautiful focal point in the garden. The display of silver from the undersides of leaves is spectacular when the wind blows.
Croton gratissimus does not have an aggressive root system. It is also ideal for bonsai. This tree tolerates any soil type and is frost and drought tolerant.
Croton gratissimus is a beautiful tree for the small garden. Do not overwater.
You may find stock of this plant at Random Harvest.