Croton tiglium (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Croton tiglium L.

Protologue: Sp. pl. 2: 1004 (1753).

Vernacular names

  • Purging croton (En)
  • Indonesia: simalakian (Minangkabau), kemalakian (Sundanese), ceraken (Javanese)
  • Malaysia: changkian, chemengkian, bua patu (Peninsular)
  • Philippines: tuba (most dialects), saligau (Ilokano, Ibanag), tubang-makaisa (Bikol, Tagalog)
  • Cambodia: bat khlok
  • Laos: mark tot
  • Thailand: ma khaang (northern), salot (central)
  • Vietnam: ba dậu, mắc vát, cong khôi.


From India and Sri Lanka eastward to China Indo-China, Thailand and throughout Malesia.


The roots and leaves, but especially the seeds and the seed oil have very drastic purgative qualities and have been used as such since ancient times. Croton oil rubbed on the skin acts as a rubefacient and vesicant. The leaves are mentioned as an ingredient of dart poison and as a poultice for snake bites. Pounded seeds are commonly used as a fish poison.


  • A shrub or treelet up to 3 m tall.
  • Leaves ovate, 7.5-17 cm × 4-9.5 cm, base broadly rounded to attenuate, with 2 sessile to distinctly stalked glands on the margin, apex obtuse to acute, margin very shallowly serrate, lower surface subglabrous with a few stellate hairs, basally 5-nerved, stipules caducous, subulate, 1.5-3.5 mm long.
  • Inflorescence glabrous; staminate flowers: sepals subglabrous, tips bearded, petals narrowly oblong, hairy, stamens 15-20, glabrous, disk glands small; pistillate flowers: sepals villous at base, petals absent, disk obscure, annular, ovary oblong.
  • Fruit obtusely trigonous, 2-2.5 cm in diameter, white, scabrid with stellate hairs.

C. tiglium is found in a wide range of vegetation and soil types, up to 1500 m altitude, planted around villages. It mainly flowers from October to May in Java.

Selected sources

  • 32. Airy Shaw, H.K., 1975. The Euphorbiaceae of Borneo. Kew Bulletin Additional Series IV. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, United Kingdom. 245 pp.34, 35, 36, 120, 128,
  • Burkill, I.H., 1966. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Revised reprint. 2 volumes. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Vol. 1 (A-H) pp. 1-1240, Vol. 2 (I-Z) pp. 1241-2444.

215, 263, 358, 380, 407, 739, 788, 810, 814, 860, 868.


P.C. van Welzen & H.J. Esser