Jatropha is a small tree or bush that belongs to the euphorbia family. The name Jatropha was derived from the Greek word "jatros" meaning doctor and "trophe" meaning food. Jatropha is found in 170 different species. Jatropha is planted as a hedge by the farmers all around the globe and it is also planted as an ornamental plant in the gardens. Jatropha has the ability to produce colorful flowers which attracts huge number of butterflies and bees.
Jatropha is also known as an oil producing plant so it is a part of the bio-diesel solution to the energy problem that prevails all over the world.
Jatropha seems to originate from Central America. It was distributed by the Portuguese from Caribbean through Cape Verde islands. Later is spread to Asia and Africa. And today it is planted in all the places of tropical and subtropical areas as a protective hedge since it is not eaten by any cattle.
Jatropha easily propagates from the seed and can grow to a height of about 0.5 to 1 meter in height. The fruits of jatropha appear in blackish brown in color when they are ripened. Once when the seeds burst they scatter the seeds to several meters away hence they have the capacity of self sowing. So the farmer's bag the fruits with a plastic bad or cloth once they are ripen to collect the seeds.
Jatropha is a high resident plant it can withstand a high degree of aridity and even can be planted in the desert also. The seeds of the plant contain 27 to 40 percent of oil that can be used as a bio diesel when it is processed.
Botanical name: Jatropha podagrica
Common Name: Buddha Belly Plant, Bottleplant Shrub, Gout Plant, Goutystalk, Guatemala Rhubarb, Purging Nut, Tartogo, Nettlespurge.
Type: Tropical, Herbaceous and tender perennial
Growth Habit: Tree or Shrub
Origin: Central America