Jatropha curcas L.
Family : Lauraceae
Common Name : കടലവണക്ക് (Mal)
: जमाल घोटा(Hin)
: Physic Nut(Eng)
Physic nut is a perennial poisonous shrub, up to 5 m high. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species. The plant, originating in Central America, whereas it has been spread to other tropical and subtropical countries as well and is mainly grown in Asia and in Africa. It is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields from animals. The plant sports large green to pale-green leaves, 8-15 cm, broadly ovate, cordate, shallowly 3 lobed, petioles around 5-15 cm. The inflorescence is formed in the leaf axel; flowers are formed terminally, individually, with female flowers usually slightly larger. Flowers greenish yellow. Fruits 3 to 4cm, globuse, yellowish green.
Glabrous shrubs with acrid latex; bark smooth, greenish-white, peeling off in thin flakes. Leaves simple, alternate, 8-15 x 6-12 cm, shallowly 5-lobed or entire, orbicular or subcordate, base truncate to cordate, margin serrate, apex acute, basally 5-nerved; petiole 5-15 cm long. Flowers yellowish-green in terminal or axillary, monoecious panicled cymes; peduncle 6-12 cm long. Tepals 10, biseriate; outer tepals 3-4 x 1-2 mm, equal in male and unequal in female; inner 5-7 x 2.5-3 mm, oblong or obovate. Stamens 10; filaments unequal, united into a central column. Ovule solitary in each cell; styles 3, 2-fid. Disc-glands 5, vertically tongue-like, 1-1.2 x 0.4-0.5 mm in male; obtrapezoid, 0.9-1 x 0.8-1 mm in female flowers. Capsule c. 2.5 cm long, ellipsoid, 6-groved; seeds ellipsoid, somewhat flattened dorsiventrally,1.5-2 x 1-1.2 cm, rugose on drying.
Use: The seeds contain 27–40% oil that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine. Edible (non-toxic) varieties, as those developed by selection by ethnic Mexican natives in Veracruz, can be used for animal feed and food.
Distribution : Central and South America and Caribbean Islands
Flowering & Fruiting : May-August