Croton eluteria, or Cascarilla, is a large shrub native to the Caribbean and is capable of reaching up to 10-20 ft as a small tree. This ornamental, evergreen shrub is notable for its unique foliage; leaves that are ovate-lanceolate in shape, 2 inches in length, and are covered in a combination of silver-bronze scaling and white scales. The white, off-white flowers are very small and highly fragrant, blooming almost year-round.
As an ethnomedical plant, Cascarilla bark has a number of medicinal purposes. Tincture from the bark is used as a fever reducer, tonic and stimulant, and is also used to flavor the liqueurs Campari and Vermouth.
In order to grow a healthy Cascarilla, it should primarily be placed in a sunny and sheltered spot that receives plenty of direct sunlight. In cold regions and when planting in pots, be sure to provide an area with natural protection from the wind and frost. The soil should be moderately-moisted, and while some irrigation is beneficial, plants should not be allowed to sit in water.
Overall, Cascarilla is an easy-to-care-for ornamental shrub that is sure to bring a unique and fragrant presence to the garden. Hardy to USDA Zone 9-11, this hardy shrub can be grown in a variety of environments, so long as adequate sun and moisture are provided.