Desert Myrtlecroton

Bernardia obovata

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge family)


Desert Myrtlecroton is an irregularly shaped, semi-evergreen shrub in the Spurge Family (Euphorbiaceae) that can grow to 3 ft by 3 ft or 0.9 m by 0.9 m in size. The young branches are green to brown and hairy but soon mature to be hairless and light to dark gray or brown. Its leaves are simple, alternate, and widest above the middle; the leaf is obtuse to rounded with an acute base. Leaves typically measure around 0.6 to 3 cm by 0.5 to 2.5 cm in size. The leaf margins have a few teeth. On the dull green tops of the leaves, there are hairs towards the base and veins are barely visible; on the paler bottoms, the veins are readily apparent. Desert Myrtlecroton's yellow flowers are inconspicuous, solitary, and have little between them and the branches. It is dioecious. The fruit is a solitary or 2 lobed, 5 mm capsule with inconspicuous hairs.


Desert Myrtlecroton is found in rocky or limestone soils of about 11 counties in the Trans Pecos Region. It is confined to a much smaller range than B. myricifolia whose range includes about 23 Central and South Texas counties.  It is very heat and drought tolerant.