Jatropha curcas

Intelligentsia International, Inc.
April 24, 2008


Kingdom:       Plantae

Division:        Embryophyta

Class:           Spermatopsida

Order:           Malpighiales

Family:          Euphorbiaceae

Genus:          Jatropha

Species:        J. curcas


Jatropha curcas is known also as Barbados nut or White Physic nut. It is a perennial poisonous shrub (normally up to 5 m high) belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family.

The plant originally comes from Central America. It has been spread to tropical and subtropical countries and mainly grown in Asia and Africa.

Animals do not consume Jatropha, so it is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields. It grows extremely fast and during a span of 4-5 years it attains a height of around 4 meters. Within 2 years of plantation, Jatropha Curcas starts to produce seeds and keeps on producing until the age of 50 years.

Jatropha Curcas grows best on well drained soils with good aeration but is well adapted to marginal soils with low nutrient content as well as shallow fields and rocky terrains. Jatropha can withstand long periods of drought, its water requirement is extremely low (1 liter per plant per day and can be provided once in 15 days.

Jatropha Curcas prefers temperatures averaging 68-85 degrees Farenheit (20-28 degrees Celsius), it can, however, withstand a very light frost. The plant flowers between September and November and the fruits come from October to December.

Recommended planting rates of Jatropha Curcas are 2,000 / 2,500 plants per hectare (2.5 acres), this will produce,
depending on density and quantity, 3-10 tonnes of Jatropha seed.

Fruit of Jatropha is green capsule shaped, and contains 3 to 4 seeds. One tonne of Jatropha Curcas seeds will produce approximately 350-550 litres of bio-diesel, while the residue can also be processed into biomass to power electricity plants.