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Jatropha podagrica


Jatropha podagrica Hook.

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Common Name: Buddha Belly Plant, Gout Plant, Guatemalan Rhubarb, Australian Bottle Plant, Tartoga, Jarak Bunting, Gout Stick, 珊瑚油桐, 佛肚树


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.6 m to 0.9 m


Native Distribution Central America, Honduras, Nicaragua
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Succulent herb growing up to 1 m tall.
Foliage Large, round to ovate leaves (25-30 cm wide) are deeply divided into 3-5 lobes. Dark green, leathery leaves have prominent white veins.
Stems The stem base (known as a caudex) is swollen and knobby, growing up to 0.3 m wide. It contains a toxic, milky latex.
Flowers Pinkish-orange to red flowers are arranged in flat-topped, terminal clusters known as cymes. The flowers in the middle of the cluster open first. This species flowers throughout the year.
Fruit Round fruits (2.5-4 cm) are initially green and fleshy, becoming dark brown at maturity. They open by explosive dehiscence, throwing seeds more than 1 m away from the parent plant. Each fruit contains 2-3 black seeds (2 cm long). The fruits are toxic upon consumption.
Cultivation Leaves will grow bigger when the plant is grown in more shaded conditions.
Etymology Genus Jatropha means "Physician's food" and refers to the medicinal use of the plant. Species podagrica refers to the medicinal use of the plant in treating gout.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: Roots have antibacterial properties.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Landscape Uses Container Planting, Bonsai, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Small Gardens
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion, Weak Branches

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant (Flower Nectar), Bee-Attracting
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Explosive Dehiscence), Biotic (Fauna)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Semi-Shade, Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Rootzone Tolerance Well-Drained Soils, Dry Soils / Drought
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed


Foliage Retention Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate, Orbicular / Round)
Foliar Venation Palmate
Foliar Margin Palmately Lobed
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Truncate / Square
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground (Caudiiform (Basal Caudex))

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers , Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Red

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Brown
Fruit Type Dehiscent Dry Fruit , Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 859
Species ID 2154
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.