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This large tropical plant is used for various medicinal and economic purposes. The oil from the nuts is currently being studied as a potential source for biodiesel.

Latin Name

Jatropha curcas



Also Known As

Physic Nut Barbados Nut

Type of Plant

Tropical Tropical


Summer Summer


Max height Max Height: 20'
Max spread Max Spread: 15'


  • Hedge

  • Sunlight Exposure

    Full Sun Full Sun


  • Drought

  • Toxicity

    Do not ingest Do not ingest
    Skin irritant Skin irritant


    Native Range

    Tropical America


    Washington planted jatropha in 1785 and knew of its purgative qualities.

    Other Details

    Grown by Washington Grown by Washington

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Botanical Garden

  • Botanical Garden

  • Hardiness Zones

    9a 9b 10a 10b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 9a 9b 10a 10b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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