Jatropha moluccana L.
A large evergreen tree up to 15 m. Bark smooth, grey. Young shoots, petioles and leaves, and inflorescences, scurfily stellate-pubescent. Petioles 5-6 cm long, biglandular at the apex. Leaf-blades ovate, rhombic or ovate-lanceolate, entire or 3-7-lobed, 10-30 x 6-25 cm, subacute to shortly acuminate, cuneate, rounded, truncate or cordate at the base, glabrescent. Stipules cylindric, 1 mm long, soon falling. Inflorescences conical, upto 15 cm long and wide; bracts 2-3 mm long. Male flowers: pedicels slender, 5-7 mm long; buds ovoid-subglobose; calyx-lobes 2-3 mm long; petals oblanceolate-spathulate, 5 x 2 mm, obtuse, yellowish-white; stamens 1-2 nun long, anthers 0.5 mm long, receptacle puberulous. Female flowers: pedicels 2-3 mm long, stout; buds ellipsoid; calyx-lobes and petals twice as long as in the ♂ fls, otherwise similar; ovary subglobose, 2 mm diam., densely stellate-tomentose; styles 1 mm long, glabrous. Fruit ovoid-subglobose, with 4 low ridges, 4-5 x 4-6 cm, evenly to sparingly stellate-pubescent, olive-coloured. Seeds broadly ovoid, 2.5-3 x 2.5-3 cm, greyish, mottled brownish.
Fl. Per.: Apr. May.
Type: Sri Lanka, Hermann Herbarium, Vol. III, p. 27 (BM, lectotype!).
Distribution: Native of Tropical Asia and Oceania from India and China to Polynesia and New Zealand, it is widely cultivated elsewhere in the tropics. generally for the edible seeds and the drying oil obtained from them, which is used in paint manufacture.