Saturday, 9 November 2019
Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume, commonly known as “croton”, is an ornamental shrub that originates in tropical forests.
A wide range of variations in leaf shape and coloration has fascinated breeders, landscapers, horticulturists and gardeners, and a huge number of cultivars have been ﬁxed for commercial production. More than 300 cultivars are available in the ornamental horticulture industry.
Diversity in croton’s leaf-shape is quite enormous. The leaf shapes include ovate to linear, entire to deeply lobed, appendiculateat the middle connected by midrib. Coloration and color pattern on the leaves is also a prominent characteristic to distinguish each cultivar.
The phenotypic diversity observed in croton leaves is of a great interest in plant science because virtually all types of leaf morphology can be seen in one species; the plasticity in leaf phenotype is extremely high.
It appears that genetic instability is associated with the leaf phenotypic diversity. Somatic mutations and/or cross pollination by ants may be involved in the mechanism for creating such high diversity.
A high variation in chromosome numbers and karyotypes may attribute to the morphological diversity among the cultivars of this species.
Croton cultivars can be devided into groups based on leaf types:
Mollick A.S, et al., 2011, Croton Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume cultivars characterized by leaf phenotypic parameters, Scientia Horticulturae Volume 132, 5 December 2011, Pages 71-79.