COMMON NAME: Jatropha
Jatropha is an evergreen shrub or small tree with stunning flowers that will bring butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden.
CHARACTERISTICS: Tropical evergreen with slender stems and multiple trunks. Can reach about 15 feet tall and have an equal spread when left unpruned.
Jatropha integerrima is native to Cuba and the West Indies and is sometimes called peregrina, spicy Jatropha, or fire-cracker. The individual flowers on this species are star-shaped and generally red, although a pink-flowered variety exists. Flowers are 1-inch wide and are produced year-round in clusters that are held upright above the lobed leaves. Butterflies that are attracted include monarchs, swallowtails, and zebra longwings.
Jatropha multifida, commonly called coral plant, is native to Mexico. This species has flat circles of coral-pink flowers and tropical-looking foliage that is deeply dissected and fan shaped. Coral plant is a bit more cold tender than peregrina.
Some Jatropha species are considered invasive.
PLANTING AND CARE: Once established, low maintenance and drought tolerant. Needs well-drained soil, partial shade to full sun, will flower best in areas with full sun. Not salt tolerant. Can actually work quite well in a large container on a porch or patio.
PROBLEMS: All parts of Jatropha are poisonous when ingested, so take care if you have children or pets frequenting your landscape. Take care when pruning Jatropha plants, as the milky sap can irritate sensitive skin.