Gardeners Dictionary: Croton

Gardeners Dictionary:
containing The Best and Newest Methods of Cultivating and Improving The Kitchen, Fruit, Flower Garden, and Nursery; As also for Performing the Practical Parts of Agriculture: Including The Management of Vineyards, With the Methods of Making and Preserving Wine, According to the present Practice of The most skilful Vignerons in the several Wine Countries in Europe.

Together with Directions for propagating and improving, From real Practice and Experience, All sorts of Timber Trees.

The Eight Edition,
Revised and Altered according to the latest System of Botany; and Embellished with several Copper-Plates, which were not in some former Editions.

By Philip Miller, F. R. S.
Gardener tothe Worshipdul Company of Apothecaries, at their Botanic Garden in Chelsea, and Member of the Botanic Academy at Florence.

Printed for the Author;

(Lontoo 1768)

CROTON. Lin. Gen. Plant. 960. Ricinoides. Tourn. Inst. 655. tab. 423. Bastard Ricinus.

The Characters are,
It hath male and female flowers in the same plant; the flowers have a five-leaved empalement, they have five petals, those of the male being no larger than the leaves of the empalement; the male have five nextarious glands, which are small, and fixed to the receptacle; these have ten or fifteen stamina, which are joidned at their base, and terminated by twin summits. The female flowers have a roundish germen, supporting three reflexed spreading styles, crowned by bifid reflexed stigmas; the germen afterward becomes a roundish three-cornered capsule, with three cells, each containing a single seed.

This genus of plants is ranged in the ninth section of Linnæus's twenty-first class, intitled Moncecia Monodelphia. The plants of this class and section have male and female flowers in the same plant, and the male parts are joined n one body.

The Species are,

1. CROTON (Tinctorium) foliis rhombeis repandis, capsulis pendulis caule herbaceo. Hort. Upsal. 290. Croton with rhomboid reflexed leaves, pendulous capsules, and an herbaceous stalk. Ricinoides ex qua paratur. Tournsol. Gallorum. Tourn. Inst. 655. Bastard Ricinus, from which the Tournsole of the French is made.

2. CROTON (Argentum) foliis cordato-ovatis subtus tomentosis integris subserratis. Horst. Cliff. 444. Croton with ovat heart-shaped leaves, which are entire and woolly. Ricinoides herbacea, folio subrotunto ferrato fructu parvo conglomerato. Houst. MSS.

3. CROTON (Palustre) foliis ovato-lanceolatis plicatis ferratis scabris. Hort. Vluff. 445. Croton with ovat spear-shaped leaves, which are plaited, sawed, and rough. Ricinoides palustre, foliis oblongis serratis fructu hispido. Martyn. Cent. 38.

4. CROTON (Lobatum) foliis inermi-serratis, inferioribus quinquelobis, superiobus trilobis. Hort. Cliff. 445. Croton with leaves smoothly sawed, the lower ones having five lobes, and the upper three. Ricinoides herbacea, foliis trisidis vel quinquesidis & ferratis. Houst. MSS.

5. CROTON (Humile) teraphyllum, foliis lanceolatis, acuminatis, subtus cæsiis, caule harbaceo ramoso. Four-leaved Croton with spear-shaped pointed leaves, gray on their under side, an a branching berbacetus stalk. Ricinoides humilis foliis oblongisacuminatis, subtus cæsiis. Houst. MSS.

6. CROTON (Fruticosum) foliis lanceolatis glabris, caule fruticoso, floribus alaribus & terminalibus. Croton with smooth spear-shaped leaves, a shrubby stalk, and flowers growing from the sides and tops of the branches. Ricinoides frutescens, lauri folio, calyce amplissimo viridi. Houst. MSS.

7. CROTON (Poluli folia) foliis cordatis, acuminatis, subtus tomentosis, floribus alaribus sessilibus, caule fruticoso. Croton with heart-shaped pointed leaves, woolly on their under side, and flowers growing close to the sides of the stalks, which are shrubby, Ricinoides foliis populi hirsutis. Plum. Cat. 20.

8. CROTON (Cascarilla) foliis lanceolatis acutis integerimis petiolatis subtus tomentosis, caule arboreo. Amcen. Acad. 5. p. 411. Croton with spear-shaped, entire, acute-pointed leaves, woolly on their under side, and a tree-like stalk. Ricinoides frutescens odorata, foliis angustis subtus albicantibus. Houst. MSS. Cascarilla.

9. CROTON (Althæafolia) foliis oblongo-cordatis tomentosis, caule ftuticoso ramoso, floribus spicatis terminalibus. Croton with oblong, heart-shaped, woolly leaves, a shrubby branching stalk, and flowers growing in spikes at the ends of the branches. Ricinoides Americana fruscens, Althææ folio. Plum. Cat. 20.

10. CROTON (Salviæ folia) foliis cordatis acutis, subtus tomentosis, caule fruticoso, floribus spicatis terminalibus & alaribus. Croton with pointed heart-shaped leaves, woolly on their under side, a shrubby stalk, and flowers growing in spikes on the tops and sides of the branches. Rizinus salviæ folio utrinque molli. Pet. Hort. Siec.

The first sort grows naturally in the south of France, from whence I have frequently received the seeds; this is an annual plant, which rises with an herbaneceous branching stalk about nine inches high, garnished with irregular, or rhomboidal figured leaves, which are near two inches long, and one inch and a quarter broad in their widest part; these stand upon slender foot-stalks, near four inches long. The flowers are produced in short spikes from the side of the stalks, at the end of the branches; the upper part of the spike is composed of male flowers, having many stamina, which coalesce at the bottom; the lower part hath female flowers, which have each a roundish three-corned germen; these afterward become a roundish capsule with three lobes, having three cells, each including one roundish seed. This flowers in July, but unless the plants are brought forward in a hot-bed, they do not ripen seeds in this country.

The seeds of this palnt should be sown in the autumn, soon after they are ripe, in a small pot filled with light earth, and plunged into an old tan-bed in a frame, where they may be screened from cold in the winter; and in the spring following the pot should be removed to a fresh hot-bed, which will bring up the plants in a month's time; when these are grown large enough to remove, they should be each planted in a small pot, and plunged into a fresh hot-bed, being careful to shade the glasses daily, until the plants have taken new root; then they should have air daily admitted according to the warmth of the season, and but a little water given to them: with this management I have had the plants flower and produce good seeds here, but bever could obtain any with other treatment.

This is the plant from which the Tournsole is made, which is used for colouring wines and jellies; it is made oft he juice which is lodged between the empalement and the seeds, which, if rubbed on cloths, at first appears of a lively green, but soon changes to a bluish purple colour; if these cloths are put into water, and afterward wrung, they will dye the water to a claret colour; the rags thus dyed, are brought to England, and sold in the druggists shops by the name of Tournsole.


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