Lavender feverberry is a small tree which either grows as deciduous or semi-deciduous depending on climatic and soil conditions of the area it is growing in. Croton gratissimus is widely distributed in most African countries which include Ethiopia, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In South Africa, it is a common tree in Maputaland and has a scattered distribution in Natal, Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. This tree is sometimes low branched with a fairly dense roundish crown.
Leaves of this tree are simple, spirally arranged, dark green on top and silvery white underneath. When crushed, leaves of Croton gratissimus emit a strong aromatic fragrance. As the foliage matures, it develops a burnt orange tint which contrasts sharply with the younger leaves. The branches of this tree are brittle and have a drooping growth habit which brings some calmness to the garden. Flowering takes place from September to November and spiky yellowish flowers are produced. This is followed by 3 chambered capsules (fruit) covered in red brown dots.
This versatile tree serves as a larval host moths and butterflies, the fruit is also very popular with bird species like crested guinea fowl, red-eyed doves, bulbuls and francolins. This tree creates a beautiful focal point in the garden. The display of silver from the undersides of leaves is spectacular when the wind blows. Croton gratissimus does not have an aggressive root system. It is also ideal for bonsai. This tree tolerates any soil type and is frost and drought tolerant.