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Jatropha gossypiifolia (Bellyache Bush)

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Scientific Name

Jatropha gossypiifolia L.

Common Names

Bellyache Bush, Black Physicnut, Cotton-leaf Physicnut

Synonyms

Jatropha gossypiifolia var. gossypiifolia, Adenoropium gossypiifolium, Adenoropium jacquinii, Jatropha elegans, Jatropha jacquinii, Jatropha staphysagriifolia, Manihot gossypiifolia

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Crotonoideae
Tribe: Jatropheae
Genus: Jatropha

Description

Jatropha gossypiifolia is a much-branched, somewhat succulent, deciduous to evergreen shrub up to 10 feet (3 m) tall. The leaves are 3-lobed, purple and sticky when young and become bright green with age. The flowers are small and red with yellow centers and appear in clusters. They are followed by cherry-sized seed pods.

Photo via flickr.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 45 °F (+7.2 °C).

How to Grow and Care

The key to growing successful Jatropha is to achieve the proper balance between moisture and drainage. They typically appreciate a steady supply of water, but the most popular species cannot tolerate being submerged or soaked and will quickly succumb to root rot. Many of the popular species make excellent small trees for a conservatory or sunny corner. Keep them well pruned so they don't outgrow their space too soon. Jatropha are vulnerable to pests including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and white fly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.

Jatropha can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings. To take stem cuttings, remove a small piece of stem, dip it in rooting hormone, then pot into a small pot with seedling starter soil. Place in a warm, bright place and wait for new growth to emerge.

Repot Jatropha annually, in the beginning of the growing season. Many species are naturally small shrubs, ranging up to 15 feet (4.5 m) in height. To keep your indoor container plant manageable, trim it to size and possibly root prune older plants. Much larger plants should be refreshed occasionally by removing the top several inches of potting soil and replacing it with fresh potting soil… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Jatropha

Origin

Jatropha gossypiifolia is native to Mexico, South America, Gujarat State (India) and the Caribbean islands.

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