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Croton monanthogynus

Croton monanthogynus
prairie tea; one-seed croton
Croton monanthogynus
Umbrella-like branching structure

Common name prairie tea; one-seed croton
Family euphorbiaceae
Life cycle annual
Flowers white (summer)
Size 12"

Wildflower whose range extends across a large sweep of the eastern and central United States, including most of Texas. The photos here are of the first specimen I consciously encountered in our Houston garden. It struck me as almost too neat and tidy to be a weed: symmetrical, densely branched, evenly covered in slightly hairy soft-green leaves. The white flowers that appear in summer aren't significant enough to have a presence, and unlike its euphorbia cousins, there are no showy bracts either. So I'll likely need to banish this from the garden before it sets a multitude of seed. But I may keep it around for a little while longer to observe its habits. If in the meantime a goatweed leafwing butterfly comes by and sends forth its caterpillars to feast on those tidy leaves, I might even have to maintain it longer still. I've not yet encountered that butterfly, but I sure wouldn't mind adding it to my butterflies page.

This is a weed in our garden

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