Jatropha curcas: Wikis


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Jatropha curcas
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Jatropha
Species: J. curcas
Binomial name
Jatropha curcas

Jatropha curcas is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that is native to the American tropics, most likely Mexico and Central America.[2] It is cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, becoming naturalized in some areas. The specific name, curcas, was first used by Portuguese doctor Garcia de Orta more than 400 years ago and is of uncertain origin.[3] Common names include Barbados Nut, Purging Nut, Physic Nut, or JCL (abbreviation of Jatropha curcas Linnaeus).

J. curcas is a poisonous, semi-evergreen shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 6 m (20 ft).[2] It is resistant to a high degree of aridity, allowing it to be grown in deserts.[4][5]

The seeds contain 27-40% oil[6] (average: 34.4% [7]) that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine.


Botanical features

  • Leaves: large green to pale-green leaves.
  • Flowers: male and female flowers are produced on the same inflorescence, averaging 20 male flowers to each female flower[8], or 10 male flowers to each female flower[9].
  • Fruits : fruits are produced in winter, or there may be several crops during the year if soil moisture is good and temperatures are sufficiently high.
  • Seeds: the seeds are mature when the capsule changes from green to yellow.


Jatropha curcas seeds

Cultivation is uncomplicated. Jatropha curcas grows in tropical and subtropical regions.[10] The plant can grow in wastelands and grows on almost any terrain, even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils. It can thrive in poor and stony soils, although new research suggests that the plant's ability to adapt to these poor soils is not as extensive as had been previously stated. Complete germination is achieved within 9 days. Adding manure during the germination has negative effects during that phase, but is favorable if applied after germination is achieved. It can be propagated by cuttings, which yields faster results than multiplication by seeds.

The flowers only develop terminally (at the end of a stem), so a good ramification (plants presenting many branches) produces the greatest amount of fruits. The plants are self-compatible[8]. Another productivity factor is the ratio between female and male flowers within an inflorescence, more female flowers mean more fruits[9]. Jatropha curcas thrives on a mere 250 mm (10 in) of rain a year, and only during its first two years does it need to be watered in the closing days of the dry season. Ploughing and planting are not needed regularly, as this shrub has a life expectancy of approximately forty years. The use of pesticides is not necessary, due to the pesticidal and fungicidal properties of the plant.

While Jatropha curcas starts yielding from 9–12 months time, the best yields are obtained only after 2 – 3 years time.

If planted in hedges, the reported productivity of Jatropha is from 0.8 kg. to 1.0 kg. of seed per meter of live fence. The seed production is around 3.5 tons / hectare (Seed production ranges from about 0.4 tons per hectare in first year to over 5 tons per hectare after 3 years).


Jatropha curcas has limited natural vegetative propagation and is usually propagated by seed. Propagation through seed (sexual propagation) leads to a lot of genetic variability in terms of growth, biomass, seed yield and oil content. Low seed viability and the recalcitrant nature of oil seeds also limit seed propagation. However, clonal techniques can help in overcoming these problems that hinder mass propagation of this tree-borne oilseed species. Vegetative propagation has been achieved by stem cuttings, grafting, budding as well as by air layering techniques.[11] The investigation leads to the recommendation that cuttings should be taken preferably from juvenile plants and treated with 200 micro gram per litre of IBA (rooting hormone) to ensure the highest level of rooting in stem cuttings. These vegetative methods have potential for commercial propagation of these plants.



Seed extraction is made simple with the use of the Universal Nut Sheller, an appropriate technology designed by the Full Belly Project.

Oil content varies from 28% to 30% and 94% extraction, one hectare of plantation will give 1.6t (metric tonne) of oil if the soil is average.[12]

The oily seeds are processed into oil, which may be used directly ("Straight Vegetable Oil") to fuel combustion engines or may be subjected to transesterification to produce biodiesel. Jatropha oil is not suitable for human consumption, as it induces strong vomiting and diarrhea.

A colourant can also be derived from the seed[citation needed].




Other uses

(The information in this section is largely inspired from the Purdue University - Center for New Crops and Plants Products website [13].)

  • Leaves
The young leaves may be safely eaten, steamed or stewed. Cooked with goat meat, they are said to advantageously counteract its smell.
Pounded leaves are applied near horses' eyes to repel flies in India. HCN (Hydrogen cyanide) is present in the leaves.The extracts of the plants are dangerous to use but easily water can realese it over if not too much extract is put.
  • Flowers
The species is listed as a honey plant. HCN is present.[14].
  • Nuts
Sometimes roasted and eaten, although they are purgative.
They can be burned like candlenuts when strung on grass. HCN is present[15].
Used as a contraceptive in South Sudan[16].
  • Seeds
Also used as a contraceptive in South Sudan[16].
The oil has been used for illumination, soap, candles, the adulteration of olive oil, and making Turkey red oil. Turkey red oil, also called sulphonated (or sulfated) castor oil, is the only oil that completely disperses in water. It is made by adding sulfuric acid to pure Jatropha oil[17]. It was the first synthetic detergent after ordinary Soap, as this allows easy use for making bath oil products. It is used in formulating lubricants, softeners, and dyeing assistants[18].
The seeds in the zone around Misantla, Veracruz are very appreciated by the population as food once they have been boiled and roasted. It is unclear if this is due to the existence of a non-toxic variety of Jatropha in Mexico and Central America, or if the seeds become edible once processed by cooking[19].
It is also similarly reported that Jatropha seeds are edible once the embryo has been removed[20]. Again it may be so because of these seeds coming from a local non-toxic variety. HCN is present.
  • Roots
Their ashes are used as a salt substitute. HCN and Rotenone are present.[21]
  • Bark
Used as a fish poison. HCN is present.[22].
  • Latex
Strongly inhibits the watermelon mosaic virus[23].
  • Sap
It stains linen. Sometimes used for marking[24].
  • Shrub
Mexicans grow the shrub as a host for the lac insect, which is used in medicine as hepatoprotective and antiobesity drug. (Picture of lac insect here [4]; drawing of insect, its larva and a colony here [5])
Used for erosion control[25],[26]

Other names

  • Saruwa in Nepal
  • Pinhão manso in Brazil
  • Tempate in Nicaragua
  • kasla also tubatuba or tubang bakod in Philippines
  • Purging nut
  • Jarak pagar in Indonesia
  • Mbono in Tanzania
  • Pourghère in Francophone Africa
  • Lahong Kwang in Cambodia
  • Cay Dau Lai in Viet Nam
  • Dang iu ciu in Taiwan
  • Lapalapa in [Nigeria]
  • uMhlafutho in Zimbabwe (in isiNdebele)
  • Aamanaku in India(Tamil Nadu)
  • "'Mak Nyao"' in Lao

See also


  1. ^ "Jatropha curcas L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2008-08-29. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?20692. Retrieved 2010-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b Janick, Jules; Robert E. Paull (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts. CABI. pp. 371–372. ISBN 9780851996387. http://books.google.com/books?id=cjHCoMQNkcgC. 
  3. ^ "Jatropha curcas L. Euphorbiaceae" (PDF). Agroforestree Database 4.0. World Agroforestry Centre. 2009. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/af/treedb/AFTPDFS/Jatropha_curcas.pdf. Retrieved 2010-10-14. 
  5. ^ Jatropha: creating desert solutions
  6. ^ Achten WMJ, Mathijs E, Verchot L, Singh VP, Aerts R, Muys B 2007. Jatropha biodiesel fueling sustainability?. Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining 1(4), 283-291.DOI: 10.1002/bbb.39The Jatropha Archives
  7. ^ Achten WMJ, Verchot L, Franken YJ, Mathijs E, Singh VP, Aerts R, Muys B 2008. Jatropha bio-diesel production and use. (a literature review) Biomass and Bioenergy 32(12), 1063-1084.DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2008.03.003The Jatropha Archives
  8. ^ a b A.C.P. Juhász, S. Pimenta, B.O. Soares, Batista Morais de Lourdes, D., Rabello, H. de Oliveira 2009. Floral biology and artificial polinization in physic nut in the north of Minas Gerais state, Brazil [Biologia floral e polinização artificial de pinhão-manso no norte de Minas Gerais] Pesquisa Agropecuaria Brasileira, 44(9): 1073–1077 (in Portuguese).
  9. ^ a b "Generative propagation of Jatropha curcas L. on Kalahari Sand." in The Jatropha Journal.
  10. ^ http://www.agricultureinformation.com/forums/sale/19166-jatropha-curcas-seeds-seedlings-sale.html Warm climate reference
  11. ^ Gadekar Kumarsukhadeo Prakash. (2006) Department of Forestry, Indira Gandhi Agricultural University Raipur (C.G.)M.Sc. Forestry Thesis "Vegetative propagation of Jatropha, Karanj and Mahua by Stem cuttings, Grafting, Budding and Air layering"
  12. ^ The Cultivation of Jatropha Curcas
  13. ^ Purdue University-Center for New Crops and Plants Products
  14. ^ Little, Woodbury, and Wadsworth, 1974. In The Jatropha Website
  15. ^ Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962. In The Jatropha Website
  16. ^ a b List and Horhammer, 1969–1979. In The Jatropha Website
  17. ^ Turkey Red Oil - A defoaming & wetting agent, manure, lubricant
  18. ^ CastorOil.in – Home of Castor Oil Online
  19. ^ Birgit Schmook (cited by Henning), in “Assessment of the potential of Jatropha curcas, (biodiesel tree) for energy production and other uses in developing countries.” Mike Benge (bengemike at aol dot com), Senior Agroforestry Officer, USAID (Ret.) July 2006 and updated August 2006 [1]
  20. ^ Levingston and Zamora (cited by IPGRI), in “Assessment of the potential of Jatropha curcas, (biodiesel tree) for energy production and other uses in developing countries.” Mike Benge (bengemike at aol dot com), Senior Agroforestry Officer, USAID (Ret.), July 2006 and updated August 2006. [2]
  21. ^ Morton, 1981.
  22. ^ Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962. In The Jatropha Website
  23. ^ Tewari and Shukla, 1982. In The Jatropha Website
  24. ^ Mitchell and Rook, 1979. In The Jatropha Website
  25. ^ (biofuel) Jatropha book - New IPGRI Series Promotes Underutilized Crops.
  26. ^Jatropha curcas L. in Africa - Assessment of the impact of the dissemination of “the Jatropha System” on the ecology of the rural area and the social and economic situation of the rural population (target group) in selected countries in Africa” [3]. Annexe 7 of this paper presents an “Economic analysis of JCL utilization in Tanzania - Economy of Jatropha Utilization in Tanzania. Data from Kakute, 2003”, covering small-scale economic data on the collection of seeds, oil making and soap making.

External links


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Jatropha curcas


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Malpighiales
Familia: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamilia: Crotonoideae
Tribus: Jatropheae
Genus: Jatropha
Species: Jatropha curcas


Jatropha curcas L.


  • Species Plantarum 2:1006. 1753
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular names

中文: 桐油樹,麻風樹,痲瘋樹,南洋油桐
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Jatropha curcas on Wikimedia Commons.


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