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Excoecaria cochinchinensis

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms: Excoecaria bicolor
Common Name: Chinese Croton, 红背桂
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Roadside Tree / Palm Ornamental Foliage Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 1 m


Native Distribution Southern Indochina to Peninsular Malaysia
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Evergreen shrub, able to grow to 1 - 2 m tall.
Foliage Leaves lanceolate in shaped, opposite arrangement, measuring about 7 - 10 cm long, green on the top and maroon underneath.
Flowers Small green flowers in axillary or terminal racemes.
Fruits Fruit is a globose capsule, measuring about 8 mm wide.
Etymology Genus Excoecaria is from the Latin word excaeco, which means "to blind" and refers to the sap of the plant that can cause temporary blindness. Species cochinchinensis means from Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses General, Roadside Tree / Palm, Parks & Gardens, Hedge / Screening, Groundcover, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Container Planting
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion, Irritant - Sap

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Propagation Method Stem Cutting (Softwood, Semi-Hardwood), Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green, Purple
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Papery, Rough
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Red
Young Flush Texture(s) Smooth, Glossy / Shiny, Thin
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oblong)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Serrate / Toothed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acuminate
Foliar Base Rounded / Obtuse
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower Colour(s) Green
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Image Repository



Master ID 715
Species ID 2010
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.