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Jatropha podagrica (Buddha Belly Plant)


Scientific Name

Jatropha podagrica Hook.

Common Names

Buddha Belly Plant, Buddha Belly, Bottleplant Shrub, Bottle Euphorbia, Purgingnut, Gout Plant, Gout Stick, Purging Nut, Guatemalan Rhubarb, Guatemala Rhubarb, White Rhubarb, Goutystalk Nettlespurge, Tartogo

Scientific Classification

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


Jatropha podagrica is a tropical succulent shrub that grows up to 8 feet (2.4 m) tall. It has a large, bottle-like, grey-skinned, knobby caudex and green, smooth, waxy leaves that are up 12 inches (30 cm) across. Flowers are small, coral-like, and bright red.

Jatropha podagrica

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USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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 water supply, but the most popular species cannot tolerate being submerged or soaked and will quickly succumb to root rot. Many of the popular Jatropha species make excellent small trees for a conservatory or sunny corner. Keep them well pruned, so they don't outgrow their space too soon. Jatrophas are vulnerable to pests, including aphids, mealy bugs, scale, and whitefly. If possible, identify the infestation as early as possible and treat with the leave toxic option.

Jatropha can be propagated by seed (if you're fortunate enough to get sides) or by stem cuttings. To take stem cuttings, remove a small piece of stem, dip it in rooting hormone, then put into a small pot with seedling starter soil. Place in a warm, bright place and wait for new growth to emerge. See more at How to Grow and Care for Jatropha.


Jatropha podagrica is native to Mexico (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz), Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.



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