Jatropha is a genus of approximately 175 succulent plants, shrubs and trees, from the family Euphorbiaceae. The name is derived from, hence the common name physic nut. Jatropha is native to Central America and has become naturalized in many tropical and subtropical areas, including India, Africa, and North America. Originating in the Caribbean, Jatropha was spread as a valuable hedge plant to Africa and Asia by Portuguese traders. The mature small trees bear separate male and female flowers, and do not grow very tall. As with many members of the family Euphorbiaceae, Jatropha contains compounds that are highly toxic.
The hardy Jatropha is resistant to drought and pests, and produces seeds containing up to 40% oil. When the seeds are crushed and processed, the resulting oil can be used in a standard diesel engine, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power electricity plants.
Goldman Sachs recently cited Jatropha curcas as one of the best candidates for future biodiesel production. However, despite its abundance and use as an oil and reclamation plant, none of the Jatropha species have been properly domesticated and, as a result, its productivity is variable, and the long-term impact of its large-scale use on soil quality and the environment is unknown.
Jatropha curcas, Barbados nut or Physic nut is a perennial poisonous shrub (normally up to 5 m high) belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species.
The plant, originating in Central America, whereas it has been spread to other tropical and subtropical countries as well and is mainly grown in Asia and in Africa, where it is known as Pourghère. It is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields from animals.
It is resistant to a high degree of aridity (it can be planted even in the desert) and as such does not compete with food crops. The seeds contain 30% oil that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine.
Jatropha podagrica is a species of plant known by several English names, including Buddha belly plant, gout plant, tartogo, bottleplant shrub, and goutystalk nettlespurge. The plant can be propagated by seeds. Mature seeds can be planted in poly bags filled with a mixture of top soil, sand and well-decayed organic manure or compost. The plants can be planted in the field after four months. They can be planted in containers or can be directly planted in the field. It is an attractive ornamental plant. It can also be used as a specimen plant. The stem swollen into vasculum at the base is a special feature of the plant. Bright red flowers are also attractive and flowers can be seen throughout the year.
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