3. Jatropha curcas L., Sp. Pl. 1006. 1753. Muell. Arg. in DC. Prodr. 15(2): 1080. 1866; Hook, f., Fl. Brit. Ind. 5: 383; 1887; Pax in Engl., Pflanzenreich 4. 147.1: 77, t. 30. 1910; Parker, For. Fl. Punj. 460. 1918; Stewart, Ann. Cat. Vasc. Pl. W. Pak. & Kashm. 454. 1972; Dehgan & Webster, U. Cal. Publ. 74: 52. 1979.
Vern.: Jamal Gota, Japlota.
A ± glabrous soft-wooded shrub or small tree usually up to 6 m, rarely taller. Bark smooth, shiny, peeling. Stems somewhat fleshy, copiously emitting a slightly milky juice when cut. Petioles (3-) 10-15 (-20) cm. Leaf-blades palmately quinquelobate or occasionally elobate, 7-15 (-18) cm long and wide, the median lobe often acutely acuminate, the laterals acute or obtuse, entire or obscurely denticulate, the blades cordate, 7-9-nerved from the base, dark green. Stipules minute, very fugacious. Inflorescences usually lateral, often paired, subcorymbiform, up to 12 cm long, with a clear peduncle up to 7 cm long; bracts linear-lanceolate, 5-10 mm long, acute, entire. Male flowers: calyx-lobes elliptic-ovate, 2 x 2 mm, obtuse, entire; corolla campanulate, lobes oblong-ovate, 3 x 1.5 mm, rounded, piose within, greenish-yellow; disc-glands free, erect, rounded; stamens 8, 3 mm long, the 5 outer ± free, the 3 inner connate, anthers 1.5 mm long. Female flowers: calyx-lobes twice as long as in the ♂flowers, otherwise similar; petals ± free, elliptic-oblong, 6 x 2.5 mm, otherwise as in the ♂; disc ± as in the ♂; staminodes 10, whitish with orange tips; ovary subtrilobate-ellipsoid, 2 x 2 mm; styles 2 mm long, the stigmas elongate, erect, bifid. Fruit ellipsoid, 2.5-3 x 2 cm, loculicidally dehiscent or subdrupaceous, green, yellowish or black. Seeds compressed, oblong-ellipsoid, 1.7 x 1 cm, black; caruncle minute.
Lectotype: Hortus Cliffortianus No. 3 p. 445, ‘America calidiore’ (BM).
Distribution: Mexico and the West Indies south to Chile.
Widely cultivated as a hedge-plant (not eaten by goats) and for medicinal purpos-es (the seeds yield a violently purgative oil), and naturalized in the Old World Tropics generally. The “Physic Nut”.