||[May. 10th, 2008|05:55 pm]
Jatropha curcas, Barbados nut or Physic nut is a perennial poisonous shrub (normally up to 5 m high) belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family. It is an uncultivated non-food wild-species.|
The plant, originating in Central America, where it has been spread to other tropical and subtropical countries as well and is mainly grown in Asia and in Africa, where it is known as Pourghère. It is used as a living fence to protect gardens and fields from animals.
It is resistant to a high degree of aridity and as such does not compete with food crops.
The seeds contains 30% oil that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine.
Cultivation is uncomplicated. Jatropha curcas can grow in wastelands and grows almost anywhere, even on gravelly, sandy and saline soils. It can thrive on the poorest stony soil and grow in the crevices of rocks. Complete germination is achieved within 9 days. Jatropha curcas thrives on a mere 250 mm (10 in) of rain a year, and only during its first two years does it need to be watered in the closing days of the dry season. Ploughing and planting are not needed regularly, as this shrub has a life expectancy of approximately forty years. The use of pesticides and other polluting substances are not necessary, due to the pesticidal and fungicidal properties of the plant.
While Jatropha Curcas starts yielding from 9–12 months time, the effective yield is obtained only after 2 - 3 years time.
If planted in hedges, the reported productivity of Jatropha is from 0.8 kg. to 1.0 kg. of seed per meter of live fence. The seed production is around 3.5 tons / hectare (Seed production ranges from about 0.4 tons per hectare in first year to over 5 tons per hectare after 3 years).