Jatropha cathartica


Jatropha cathartica – Berlander's Nettlespurg

Jatropha cathartica (Berlander's Nettlespurg) is a caudex forming perennial that produces a round, fat, textured base and attractive blue…

Jatropha cathartica is a perennial herb that grows from an enlarged, tuberlike woody root (caudex). [3] It is deciduous, losing both stems and leaves, and spends the winter in a dormant state. [5]

Caudex Edit

The large caudex is globose, pastel-white, and up to 20 cm (7.9 in) wide and 30 cm (12 in) tall (or more). It is underground in the wild but becomes exposed if cultivated in a container. [3]

Stems Edit

Stems reach a length of 30 cm [3] and have petioles up to 17 centimetres (6.7 in) long. [6]

Leaves Edit

Leaves are gray-green, [7] palmate, very deeply lobed five to seven times, and up to 10 cm long. [6]

Flowers Edit

The flowers are showy, bright pink to poppy-red, and arrayed in loose clusters at the ends of long peduncles. Each inflorescence bears individual flowers up to 12 mm wide, of which 3-4 are female and 10-12 are male. It blooms throughout the growing season from February to November, but mainly in summer.

Fruit Edit

The fruit is a green, pea-like three-lobed capsule containing three seeds. [5]

Berlandier's nettlespurge grows scattered among brush, usually on clay soil in hot, arid regions. This plant has adapted to drought and can survive many days without rain. It will grow in sun or shade, but will rot in a cold, damp environment.

Jatropha Species, Berlandier's Nettlespurge, Baseball Plant, Buddah's Belly


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant break open to collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On Jul 14, 2008, WNYwillieB from Buffalo, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is an awesome little guy, for sure.

However, I have been reading that they can become damaged if the temps drop much below 50єF .

I was wondering if anyone has had any personal experience with them surviving lower temps.

I ask because I am not sure the temperature info listed on this page is safe.

On Aug 24, 2004, daisyavenue from Long Beach, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a delightful little plant.

Soil should be a succulent/regular plant mix and should drain well and be allowed to dry between waterings.

Should the container get both too damp and cold, the stems may become very soft and gummy.

The 'flowers' are perfect miniature exotics.

Planting and Care

Once established, J. integerrima and J. multifida are both low maintenance and drought tolerant. Jatropha plants need well-drained soil, and while they can handle partial shade to full sun, they will flower best in areas with full sun. This plant is not salt tolerant. Jatropha grows best in zones 10 to 11. They are marginal in zone 9B frosts and freezes will damage them, but they usually recover quickly.

Jatropha tolerate pruning well, which gives you options when it comes to the form of your plant. You can let it grow naturally into an interesting multi-trunked tree, or with some pruning, it can be trained into a fabulous espalier, shrub, or single-trunked tree. Take care when pruning Jatropha plants, as the milky sap can irritate sensitive skin. The versatility of these plants is not limited to your pruning skills—Jatropha can actually work quite well in a large container on a porch or patio.

You can see why Jatropha multifida is often called coral plant.
Photo: Edward Baker, some rights reserved (cc-by-nc-sa 2.0).

J. integerrima and J. multifida are wonderful shrubs for South Florida plant lovers. With plentiful flowers and few maintenance needs, what isn’t to love?

For more information on these Florida-friendly varieties of jatropha, contact your county Extension office.

Watch the video: Jatropha berlandieri Ятрофа берландиера

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