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Barbados nut, physic nut

Habit Trees, to 10[–15] m, monoecious.
Stems

erect, gray-green, much-branched, woody-succulent, glabrous; short shoots absent;

latex watery, colorless in younger branches, cloudy-whitish in older shoots.

Leaves

persistent, ± evenly distributed on long shoots;

stipules caducous, narrowly lanceolate, 5 mm, undivided;

petiole 9–19 cm, not stipitate-glandular;

blade round in outline, 9–15 × 9–15 cm, usually shallowly 3–5-lobed, rarely unlobed, base cordate, margins entire or glandular (young leaves), apex acuminate, membranous, surfaces glabrous;

venation palmate.

Inflorescences

bisexual, terminal and subterminal, cymes;

peduncle 5–10 cm;

bracts 3–10 mm, margins entire, glabrous.

Pedicels

1–3 mm.

Staminate flowers

sepals distinct, ovate-elliptic, 4–6 × 2–3 mm, margins entire, apex acute, surfaces glabrous;

corolla greenish yellow, campanulate, petals distinct or connate 1/4 length, 6–8 × 2–3.5 mm, glabrous abaxially, tomentose adaxially;

stamens 10, ± in 2 whorls (5 + 5);

filaments of both whorl connate to top or nearly so, outer whorl 3–4.5 mm, inner whorl 3–5 mm.

Pistillate flowers

resembling staminate, but sepals connate to 1/2 length, 5–7.5 × 2–5 mm;

petals 4–5 × 2–2.5(–3) mm;

staminodes infrequent;

carpels 3;

styles connate most of length, 0.5–1.5 mm.

Capsules

ellipsoidal, 2.6–3 × 2.2–2.8 cm, drupaceous.

Seeds

black or black mottled with white spots, ellipsoidal, 18–20 × 11–13 mm;

caruncle rudimentary.

2n

= 22 (Puerto Rico).

Jatropha curcas

Phenology Flowering and fruiting spring (late summer–early fall).
Habitat Disturbed sites.
Elevation 0–50 m. [0–200 ft.]
Distribution
from FNA
FL; Mexico; Central America [Introduced in North America; introduced also in West Indies, South America, Asia, Africa, Pacific Islands, Australia]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Discussion

Jatropha curcas now has a circumtropical distribution but probably originated in Central America; it is naturalized in southern Florida. The latex of J. curcas is used for soap making and for medicinal purposes; the seeds are used for biofuel production.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 12, p. 202.
Parent taxa Euphorbiaceae > Jatropha
Sibling taxa
J. canescens, J. cardiophylla, J. cathartica, J. cuneata, J. dioica, J. gossypiifolia, J. integerrima, J. macrorhiza, J. multifida
Name authority Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 2: 1006. (1753)
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