7. Croton cortesianus Kunth in A. von Humboldt et al., Nov. Gen. Sp. 2(fol.): 66; 2(qto.): 83. 1817.
Cortez’s croton, palillo Cortez’s croton, palillo
Croton chichenensis Lundell; C. trichocarpus Torrey
Shrubs, 10–30 dm, dioecious. Stems di- or trichotomously branched, stellate-hairy, young stems often blackened by fungus. Leaves not clustered; stipules rudimentary; petiole 1–1.5 cm, 1/6–1/3 leaf blade length, glands absent at apex; blade narrowly obovate, oblong, elliptic, or lanceolate, 3–10 × 1–5 cm, mostly less than 3.5 times as long as wide, base subacute to rounded, margins minutely denticulate, apex acute or acuminate, abaxial surface light green, densely ochraceous stellate-hispid when young, pale stellate-hairy when mature, adaxial surface darker green, glabrous. Inflorescences unisexual, racemes; staminate 7–20 cm, flowers 10–30; pistillate 1–5 cm, flowers 8–20(–30). Pedicels: staminate 0–1 mm, pistillate 0–0.5 mm. Staminate flowers: sepals 5, 2.5 mm, abaxial surface stellate-hairy; petals 5, oblong, 3 mm, abaxial surface glabrous except margins ciliate basally; stamens 12–16. Pistillate flowers: sepals 5, equal, 1–1.5 mm, margins entire, apex straight to slightly incurved, abaxial surface stellate-hispid; petals rudimentary; ovary 3-locular; styles 3, 4–5 mm, 2-fid, terminal segments 6. Capsules 5–6 × 4.5–5.5 mm, smooth; columella apex with 3 rounded, inflated lobes. Seeds 4–5 × 3–3.5 mm, shiny (with silvery sheen). 2n = 20.
Flowering Feb–Oct, possibly year-round. Scrub forests; 0–50 m; Tex.; e, se Mexico; Central America.
Croton cortesianus is known in the flora area only from Cameron, Hidalgo, and Starr counties.