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Jatropha curcas


Jatropha curcas L.

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Common Name: Physic Nut, Barbados Nut, 麻风树


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 Tree (Shrubby (1m-5m)), Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic


Native Distribution Tropical America
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical, Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal
Local Conservation Status Non-native (Spontaneous (Casual))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large shrub or small tree with spreading branches.
Foliage Lobed leaves (6-40 cm long, 6-35 cm wide) have 3 or 5 pointed tips which are acute or acuminate (pointed or sharply pointed, respectively). The petiole is 2.5-7.5 cm long. Leaf arrangement is alternate with 1 leaf occurring per node or place on the stem.
Flowers This species is monoecious having male and female flowers on the same plant. Flowers are yellow-green and bell-shaped. Female flowers occur singly, while male flowers are arranged in an inflorescence known as a cyme.
Fruit Round, yellow fruits (2.5-4 cm wide) are known as capsules which split into 3 compartments or valves. Each fruit produces 2-4 black, oblong seeds. The seeds contain up to 35% oil which is not edible, but has potential as a biodiesel. Consumption of the seeds will induce diarrhoea.
Cultivation This species can grow on poor nutrient soils and withstand prolonged drought.
Ethnobotanical Uses Others: By-products from processing the oil in seeds can be used to make a variety of products, such as paper, soap and toothpaste. The seed cake (the leftover product after seeds are pressed for oil) can be used as an organic fertilizer.

Landscaping Features

Landscape Uses General, Slope Stabilization
Usage Hazard - Cons Toxic Upon Ingestion

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Rootzone Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality Unisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Remarks Yellow-green

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Mature Fruit Texture(s) Smooth
Mature Seed Colour(s) Black
Seed Quantity Per Fruit Few (1-5)

Image Repository



Master ID 31238
Species ID 5633
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: 10 August 2022.