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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 12 | Euphorbiaceae

2. Jatropha cathartica Terán & Berlandier in J. L. Berlandier, Mem. Comis. Limites. 9. 1832.

Berlandier’s nettlespurge Berlandier’s nettlespurge

Jatropha berlandieri Torrey

Herbs, perennial, to 0.3 m, monoecious, with woody subterranean caudex to 13.5 cm diam., stem and root scars crescent-shaped. Stems erect, green, sparsely branched, herbaceous, somewhat succulent, glabrous; short shoots absent; latex watery, cloudy-whitish. Leaves ± evenly distributed on long shoots; stipules persistent, 2–3 mm, deeply divided into linear-lanceolate segments; petiole 6–10 cm, not stipitate-glandular; blade cordate in outline, 6–11 × 3.5–6 cm, deeply 5–7-lobed nearly to base, segments deeply lobed, base cordate, margins coarsely dentate, apex acuminate, membranous, surfaces glabrous; venation palmate. Inflorescences bisexual, terminal and subterminal, cymes; peduncle 7.5–11 cm; bracts 3–10 mm, margins entire, glabrous. Pedicels 9–13 mm. Staminate flowers: sepals connate 1/2 length, ovate, 2–2.5 × 1–1.2 mm, margins usually entire, rarely 1–2-lobed, apex acute, surfaces glabrous; corolla deep red, rotate-campanulate, petals distinct, 7–10 × 2–3 mm, surfaces glabrous; stamens 8 in 2 whorls (5 + 3); filaments of each whorl appearing connate 1/2 length at anthesis, distinct at maturity, both whorls 2.5–3 mm. Pistillate flowers resembling staminate, but sepals distinct, lanceolate, 2.5–3.5 × 0.8–1 mm; corolla rotate, petals 7–9 × 2.5–2.8 mm; carpels 3; styles connate to 3/4 length, 0.5–1.5 mm. Capsules spheric, 1–1.5 × 1–1.5 cm, explosively dehiscent. Seeds brown with darker markings, ellipsoidal, 9–13 × 5–7 mm; caruncle prominent. 2n = 22.

Flowering and fruiting spring–summer. Grassy clay-rocky and saline flats; 1000–2500 m; Tex.; Mexico (Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas).

Jatropha cathartica is attractive and is threatened by extensive collecting by growers and collectors of succulent plants. In the flora area, the species is known from south Texas.


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