Jatropha is a diminutive tree or hedge plant. Jatropha can grow to a height of about 3 to 5 meters. If the conditions are favorable they can grow to a height of about 8 to 10 meters. The plant has a gray bark and they emit white water latex when it is chopped.
The leaves of the jatropha plant are large and they appear from green to pale green in color. Alternately to the sub opposite side they have 3 to 5 lobes with spiral phyllotaxis. The leaves of the plant are used to treat many illness and inflammation in the tongue for babies.
The flowers are formed lethally i.e. they are formed terminally and individually. Here in jatropha the male and female flowers blossom separately. And the females are little larger than the males. The length of the petiole ranges from 6 – 23 mm and at the leaf axils the inflorescence are formed. In continuous growing conditions an unbalanced pistillate or staminate production of flowers result in a huge number of female flowers.
The shrubs are leafless during winter giving the way to produce fruits. If the conditions like soil moisture and temperature are good and sufficiently high the crop can bear fruit throughout the year. A bunch of at least 10 ovoid fruits can be seen in a single inflorescence. Once the seeds are matured they form a three or bi-valued cocci are formed with fleshy outer layer. The fruits do not have the capacity to drop on their own they provide place for manual harvest without any damage or wastage.
After 2 to 4 months from the date of fertilization the capsule changes from green to yellow in color. This indicates that the seeds are matured. The blackish and thin shelled seeds are lozenge and they appear to be small castor seeds.
Flowering and fruiting habit
During the dry season the tress are very deciduous and they shed their leaves. And in the wet season flowering occurs. The flowering can be seen throughout the year if the region is humid permanently. After 3 months from flowering the seeds are matured. If there is enough rainfall early growth is possible and the nursery plants will bear their fruits after the first rain itself. Pollination takes place by insects and honey bees play a big part in jatropha pollination.