The Croton Society


Well-Known Member
Let me preface these remarks by saying they are targeted at our guests and not our members with the exception of our members who do not belong to the Croton Society.

There are hundreds of plant societies on the web and in the real world. To the best of my knowledge, only one is a monoculture - Codiaeum variegatum. No other member of the plant kingdom that I'm aware of is as genetically unstable and creative as the Croton. These are the facts and they are undisputed.

A society, for lack of a better name, is a group of people who gather and discuss a common interest from time to time. You could call it a club, but then we'd need a clubhouse and that means no girls. It might be looked upon as a secret gathering of hooded figures that dance slowly around a pile of fallen Croton leaves and broken stems, chanting some Celtic drone as though the decomposing plant material would suddenly sprout roots. Sometimes, I think that's exactly what we are.

Nonetheless, having a society legitimizes the object of its affection. When you pay dues, have a membership card, a bumper sticker, a lapel pin, or a t-shirt emboldened with the name of the society it makes it real. And thus, we have a Croton Society.

With these facts as clear as your windshield after a car wash, it then becomes a simple matter of either enjoying the plants for what they are or joining in the fray as history is being uncovered. Because that's what this society is really about - history. Who was Richard Krukonis? The Dreers? Lord Buckingham? The massive Coppinger family? Sure they all had something to do with Crotons, but Crotons weren't here when Florida was born; how did they get here? How did they affect the landscape? The people's feelings about color in their plants? Remember, the white folk that moved down here and first settled knew plants as green, maybe with some white, and all the color came from the flower. When their leaves turned color, it was time to get out the rake and burn 'em. The Croton is just the opposite. Think about the effect our favorite plant had on the developing tastes of these new Floridians.

You join a society because you share a common interest, ours is Crotons, you should join.

P.S. You do get a beautiful calendar and a discount on Dr. Brown's book, the ONLY Croton encyclopedia still in print for your dues.
P.P.S. The dues are tax deductible.
I grew up in New England so I always enjoyed the color of the leaves in the fall. In the late 70's we'd visit my Great Grandmother who lived on Andrea St. in Key West. I was always amazed at some of the plants in the neighbood. The leaves looked like giant pendulums of swirled and spotted hard candy. Later in life I noticed this plant in different parts of Polynesia and the Carribean, usually used ornamentally in peoples yards. When I finally settled in Florida it was nice to learn about the Croton Society. I have met a lot of friendly and generous people who also really like this plant. They all have their own story, I remember one member telling me he was intrigued with crotons because they looked like the paint colors he mixed for custom auto detail. I have certainly killed my fair share but with what I've learned from the Society, and a bit of patience, we now have a nice collection.