Jatropha is a plant that occurs in the form of a small tree or shrub and belongs to the family of Euphorbia. 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 can produce colorful flowers that attract a huge number of butterflies and bees.
Jatropha is also known as an oil-producing plant. It is the rare case of a non-edible oil, and hence it is attractive renewable energy. The field of application ranges from the production of biodiesel as well as other types of fuel, including kerosene. Due to these features, Jatropha is considered to be a powerful contribution to the great need for carbon-neutral means of fuels and energy.
Jatropha seems to originate from Central America. It was distributed by the Portuguese from Caribbean through the 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 bag or cloth once they are ripened 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 deserts. The seeds of the plant contain 27 to 40 percent of the oil that can be used as biodiesel when it is processed.
Jatropha plant profile
- Botanical name: Jatropha podagrica
- Common Name: Buddha Belly Plant, Bottleplant Shrub, Gout Plant, Goutystalk, Guatemala Rhubarb, Purging Nut, Tartogo, Nettlespurge.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Malpighiales
- Genus: Jatropha
- Family: Euphorbiaceae
- Type: Tropical, Herbaceous and tender perennial
- Group: Dicot
- Duration: Perennial
- Growth Habit: Tree or Shrub
- Origin: Central America