The plant Jatropha podagrica is also known as goutystalk nettlespurge, Guatemalan rhubarb, purging-nut, gout plant and the Buddha belly plant.
The Jatropha podagrica is distinct in its looks with a trunk that looks belly or bottle shaped in appearance. The trunk has long stems coming off it with either lobed leaves or coral shaped flowers on them. The plant flowers continuously and is resistant to drought and direct sunlight.
Originally from the West Indies and Central America, it is found mainly in Guatemala.
The seed pods, which are produced on the plant, explode when mature and the seeds are then spread over several feet. If a bag is placed over the seed heads then these seed heads can be dried whilst on the plant. Once dried they can be removed, the seeds collected and the seeds used for propagation. If you are sowing the seeds inside then you should stratify them.
Jatropha Podagrica is from the Spurge or Euphorbiaceae family.
The Jatropha podagrica likes to be homed in soil that is well drained. It should be in a dry, warm sunny location and watered sparingly. In the winter it enters a resting period where it should be watered very sparingly and although the leaves will fall off, the flowers will remain. Once the plant has come out of its dormant period in the spring and enters its growing season, it should be fertilised with a liquid fertiliser that has been diluted.
Did You Know?
The Jatropha podagrica can cause skin irritation if you come into contact with the sap, a milky white liquid. The names gout plant and physic gut, which are often associated with the plant, are due to the fact that the seeds were often used as laxatives.