Jetropha Curcas
1292998138jatropha seeds.jpg Jatropha curcas L Family - Euphorbiaceae Currently we are cultivating Jatropha in 2000 Acre under contractual farming in whole the nation. Whole the Jatropha is being cultivated under close supervision of our highly trained agriculture technologist. The Jatropha cultivation has changed lifestyle of our growers.

Jatropha curcas L

Family – Euphorbiaceae


English –Purging Tree, Curcas Nut, Physic Nut

Marathi-Jangli Enandi, Safed Earand, Bagh Erand, Mongali Erand

Sanskrit-Kanana Erand


Jatropha belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is a multipurpose shrub or small tree of significant importance because of its several industrial and medicinal uses. The word Jatropha is derived from two Greek words 'Jatros' meaning a 'Doctor' and 'Trophe' meaning nutrition. It grows in a number of climatic zones in tropical and subtropical regions and can be grown in areas of low rainfall and problematic soil. Jatropha oil is a potential source of biofuel in countries where the resources to import fossil fuel is poor. It can serve as a panacea for energy shortages in the future. Jatropha is otherwise known as Kattamanakku. In India it is found almost in all states and is generally grown as a live fence for protection of agricultural fields against damage by livestock as unpalatable to cattle and goats. So, there is no need to protect it from livestock during farming. It is a small evergreen or soft wooden shrub, 3 to 4 meters high. It can be cultivated in all the tropical & sub-tropical regions.

It is believed to be native of South America and Africa but later spread to other continents of the world by Portugese settlers. The Arabs have been using this plant for medicinal purpose. Today it is found scattered in all the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world such as Brazil, Fiji, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Panama, Puerto Rico and Salvador. There are more than 200 different names for it all over the world, which indicates its great significance to man, and various possibilities of its uses. Though, it is found in almost all the State of India as a live fence. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are the main states cultivating this crop.


It is an evergreen, soft wooded, glabrous shrub or erect tree of 6 m height with spreading branches and stubby twigs, with a milky or yellowish latex exudates. Leaves deciduous, alternate but apically crowded, ovate, acute to acuminate basally cordate, 3-5 lobed in outline, 6-40 cm long, 6-35 cm broad, the petioles 2.5 - 7.5 cm long. Flowers are in April -May in several to many greenish cymes, yellowish, bell-shaped, sepals 5, broadly deltoid. Male flowers many with 10 stamens, 5 united at the base only, 5 united into a column. Female flowers borne singly with elliptic, 3 celled, triovulate ovary with 3 spreading bifurcate stigma, flowers in April -May. Fruit is a capsule, 2.5 - 4 cm long and diameter, finally splitting into 3 pails, all or two of which commonly have an oblong black seed of 2 cm x 1 cm size.



Latex: The latex of Jatropha contains the alkaloids such as 'Jatrophine', 'Jatropham' 'Jatrophone' and 'Curcain' which are believed to have anti-cancerous properties. Leaves contain apigenin, vitexin and isovitexin. The A- amyrin, stigmosterol and stigmastenes along with two new flavonoid glycosides found in leaves and twigs. The seed fat is rich in palmitic, oleic and linoleic acids. The toxicity of the seeds is because of 'curcin' alkaloids. It is used to dress sores and ulcers and inflamed tongues. The alkaloids of latex such as Jatrophine and Jatropham are found to have anti cancerous properties. The latex is applied topically against honeybees and wasp stings. It is also used as an external application for skin diseases, burns, ringworms, haemorrhoids and ulcer. The tender twigs are used for cleaning teeth.

  • The oil is extensively used for making soap in some countries. The bark of Jatropha curcas yields a dark blue dye which is used for colouring cloth, fishing nets and lines.
  • The latex of Jatropha contains an alkaloid known as "jatrophine" which is believed to have anti-cancerous properties. The roots are reported to be used as an antidote for snake-bites.
  • The leaves are used for fumigating houses against bed-bugs.
  • The non-edible vegetable oil of Jatropha curcas has characteristics comparable to diesel.


According to Ochse (1980), "the young leaves may be safely eaten, steamed or stewed." They are favored for cooking with goat meat, said to counteract the peculiar smell. Though purgative, the nuts are sometimes roasted and dangerously eaten. In India, pounded leaves are applied near horses' eyes to repel flies. The oil has been used for illumination, soap, candles, adulteration of olive oil, and making Turkey red oil. Nuts can be strung on grass and burned like candlenuts (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). Mexicans grow the shrub as a host for the lac insect. Ashes of the burned root are used as a salt substitute (Morton, 1981). Agaceta et al. (1981) conclude that it has strong molluscicidal activity. Duke and Wain (1981) list it for homicide, piscicide, and raticide as well. The latex was strongly inhibitory to watermelon mosaic virus (Tewari and Shukla, 1982). Bark used as a fish poison (Watt and Breyer-Brandwijk, 1962). In South Sudan, the seed as well as the fruit is used as a contraceptive (List and Horhammer, 1969–1979). Sap stains linen and can be used for marking (Mitchell and Rook, 1979). Little, Woodbury, and Wadsworth (1974) list the species as a honey plant.


The leaves are regarded as galactogogue, rubefacient and antiparasitic, used against scabies, paralysis, rheumatism and hard tumors. The leaf juice is used as external application for piles. It is also applied for inflammations of the tongue in babies. The twig sap is as a stypic to dress wounds and ulcers. An emulsion of the sap with benzyl benzoate is said to be effective against scabies wet eczema and dermatitis. The juice is reported to relieve toothache and strengthen gums. The juice of the plant is also used as purgative and haemostatic. The-roots are reported to have anthelmintic action and used as antidote for snakebites. The bark is used as fish poison and used externally for sores. The decoction of the bark and roots is given for the treatment in rheumatism, leprosy, dyspepsia and diarrhoea. The root bark is used for external applications for sores. In Java and Malaysia the tender leaves are eaten after cooking. The bark of jatropha curcas yields a dark blue dye and is used for coloring cloth, fishing nets and lines. The yellow dye extracted from leaves and tender stems is used to colour cotton clothes.


The plants shed their leaves in winter months form mulch around the base of the plant. Besides, it provides plentiful organic matter and increases the microbial activity including earthworm. The tender branches and leaves are widely used to manure coconut trees. The trees release the O2 into the environment and accumulate C02 in the plants. On incorporation it enriches the soil carbon. The plants reduce soil erosion and will help to conserve moisture. Jatropha can be grown as agro-forestry crop on wastelands or barren and marginal lands where no irrigation facilities are available. Being a xerophytic succulent, its water requirement is extremely low and it can stand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce the transpiration loss. It can also be used for land reclamation. It is a crop with low capital investment, short gestation period and long productive period. The country's 175 m ha of wasteland could be put effectively for rural income generation and fuel production. It is commonly grown as a live hedge around agricultural fields, meadows and forest plantation as it can be easily propagated, grows rapidly, hardy and is not browsed by goats or cattle. It can be curt or lopped at any desired height and is well adopted for hedges around agricultural fields. It does not complete bunds; it can provide shelter from dessicating winds. Nine species of Jatropha are being grown in gardens for their ornamental foliage and flowers. Jatropha curcas can be used for quick greening of wasteland for eco rehabilitation and bio-aesthetic reasons. It can be used as a filler of all ugly vacant plots. It also suits to the agro forestry system. Growing Jatropha with or without irrigation makes it a promising and profitable agro-forestry crop both under rainfed and irrigated conditions ensuring optimal utilization of land, manpower, water and financial resources.


Seeds are aperient and used for dropsy, gout, paralysis and skin ailments. The jatropha curcas oil possesses purgative properties. It is used as an external application for skin diseases and rheumatism. It is reported to be abortificient, emetic, laxative and efficacious in dropsy, sciatica and paralysis. In Java, the oil is applied to hair as growth stimulant. It is also used for sores and domestic livestock.


The extracts are used in folk remedies fortheir abortifacient, anodyne, antiseptic, cicatrizant, depurative, diuretic, emetic, laxative, narcotic, purgative, rubefacient, styptic and vermifuge properties. It is a folk remedy for dropsy, dysentery, dyspepsia, eczema, erysipelas, fever, gonorrhea, inflammation, jaundice neuralgia, paralysis, parturition, pleurisy, pneumonia, rheumatism, scabies, sores, syphilis, tetanus, tumors, ulcers and yellow fever.


The crude jatropha oil has been used as safer material to control stored food grain from insects, snails, housefly, aphids, pink boll worm, Spodopteru, Heiicoverpa, damping off. Wilt, etc. The fumes are used against house bed bugs. The seeds are considered anthelminthic and when ground with palm oil is used as rat poison. The ether extract shows antibiotic activity against Siyphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coll. The leaves of this plant can be used to rear Eri-silkworm and Tusser silkworm.


Besides all the above uses, the plant has gained prominence as a source of biofuel. The oil obtained from decorticated seeds by expression or solvent extraction is known in the trade as 'Jatropha Oil'. The Crude oil can be processed & Used as Biofuel or Substitute HSD to the tune of 20% blend. This is an environmentally safe, cost effective and renewable source of non-conventional energy as a promising substitute to Diesel, Kerosene, LPG, Coal, firewood, etc. The bi-product glycerin emanating out of biodiesel is used for soap making. Biogas is also produced from oil cake and it contains 70 percent methane. Its degradation rate is 70- 80 per cent. Bio-diesel is a nontoxic, biodegradable 100% natural energy alternative to petroleum fuel. It is an environmentally friendly fuel.


The genus Jatropha has 175 species and there are 12 species found to occur in India. The important species are

1. J. glandulifera var green Roxh (Jangli arand). It is a weed found scattered in Southern India. Leaves and stems are green in colour and possess oil grands.
2. J. glandulifera var pink Roxb (pink jangli arand). It is also a weed plant and it differs with previous species by its pinkish leaves and stems.
3. J. mulliflora (Coral piant/Bhadradanti). It is an ornamental shrub, leaves are 8-10 lobed, flowers are pink in colour.
4. .J. gossipifolia var. rose (Bherenda). It is a profusely flowering ornamental shrub, flowers arc rose coloured and capsules are small and possess less oil.
5. J. gossipifolia var. pink L. (Pink bherenda). It is also a pink flowering shrub with small capsules suitable for ornamental purposes.
6. J. nana deh-or Gibs. Small shrub, leaves three lobed. fruits are small, oil content is less, good for hedge.
7, J. podagrica. It is a bonsai plant, flowers are rose, leaves broadly ovate, alternate, and the basal stem i s bulged like a bottle.

Two types viz., (i) Nicaragua type and (ii) Mexican type are reported in the Western world. Mexican types are free of toxic substances and the Nicaragua types are poisonous types. In Madagascar J.mahafalensis (2n=22) is commonly cultivated. In India there is no local variety or types. Some New Clones and varieties are bring developed by Agricultural Universities in Tamil Nadu, Raipur, Udaipur Etc., Selecting the variety is extremly important. It should also be properly selected on the basis of climate, soil, project requirment etc. Certain varieties like Jatropha Tanjurensis are Consutable because the plant producess only flowers but not fruits. Professional consultancy and assistant must be taken for large scale projects.


 Two types, viz:

  1. The Nicaragua type and (ii.) The Mexican type is reported in the western world. The Mexican type is free of toxic

Substances and the Nicaragua type is poisonous. The centres of diversity of landraces and ecotypes are Central and South America. In Madagascar J.mahafalensis (2n=22) is commonly cultivated. In India, there are no named varieties and the local types are widely being cultivated.



Jatropha curcas is a hardy plant, well adapted to arid and semi arid conditions. It has low fertility and low moisture demand and can come up in stony, gravely or shallow and even does not require tillage. It does not thrive in wetland conditions.



It can be grown over a wide range of arid or semi-arid climatic conditions. Whilst Jatropha grows well in low rainfall conditions (200mm), it can also tolerate high rainfall (up to 1200mm) conditions .It can withstand long periods of drought by shedding most of its leaves to reduce the transpiration loss. It tolerates an annual temperature range of 18-28.5o C.For the emergence of seeds, a hot and humid climate is preferred .The flowering commences in the rainy season and the plant bears fruits in winter.



Jatropha can be propagated from seeds as well as cuttings .The seeds can be sorted and the plump and filled seeds alone should be selected. The overnight soaking of seeds in water improves the germination percentage. The pot mixture may be filled up in 18*13 cm polybags and the seeds are sown. The seeds germinate within a week and will be ready for transplanting in 45 days. The plants grown from seeds develop a typical taproot and four lateral roots. The seedlings start bearing from 3-4 years. The rooted semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings also may be used for planting. Vegetative propagation is easy and results in rapid growth. The cuttings are ready for planting in 2-3 months time and they start bearing in the same year of planting.


The seed rate for planting one hectare is 5-6 kg. The spacing is 2*2m and will accommodate 2500 plants per hectare under irrigated or partially irrigated conditions. In South Indian conditions,2*1.5cm spacing (3250 plants0 is found to be ideal. On rain-fed wastelands, high density planting with a spacing of 2*1m or 1.5*1.5m, accommodating 5000 or 4444 plants per hectare, respectively, is desirable.


The land should be ploughed once or twice depending on the nature of soil. In the case of heavy soil deep ploughing is needed, whereas in light soils, shallow ploughing is enough. In loose soil, pits of 1*1*1’ size are dug and filled with soil and organic mix. In clayey soil the trenches should be dug to 30 cm depth, 30 cm width and with 2 m distance between them. The pits are filled with soil and compost or organic manure @ 400 g/pit.


The seed or cuttings are directly planted in the main field with the onset of monsoon during the months of June-August. For direct sowing, two seeds are dibbled at each spot at the specified spacing. When the seedlings are 4 weeks old, the weaker seedlings should be removed to retain one healthy seedling in each spot and the seedlings so removed could be used for gap-filling. The large semi –hardwood or hardwood cuttings can also be directly planted in the field.

For Transplanting the seedlings are grown in polybags of ½ kg capacity filled with soil and organic manure mixture (7:10:5) @ 100 g per polybag plus 400g soil. Two seeds should be sown around 6 cm deep in each polybag and should be watered regularly. When the seedlings are around 4 weeks, the weaker of the two seedlings should be removed and used for gap-filling. The grown-up seedlings or cuttings are then transplanted in to the main field. The pits are filled with 500 g FYM and 100 g of neem-cake to ensure profuse rooting.


Although Jatropha has adapted to low fertility sites and alkaline soils, a better yield is obtained on poor quality soils if fertilizers with small amount of calcium, magnesium and sulphur are used. Mycorrhizal associations have been observed with Jatropha and are known to aid the plant growth under conditions where phosphate is limited. In general, the application of super-phosphate @ 150 kg/ha, alternated with one dose of 40:100:40 kg/ha NPK at 6-monthly intervals improves the yield. The application should coincide with rainy season or proper irrigation should be ensured immediately after the application of the fertilizers. From the fourth year onwards, 10 % extra super-phosphate should be added to the above dose.


During the dry period, the crop is irrigated at 7-15 days’ intervals depending on the requirement. Although weekly irrigation is preferable, fortnightly intervals is compulsory. Drip irrigation is not ideal as it induces too much of vegetative growth.


The field should be kept free from weeds at all times. Around 3-4 weedings in the initial period are enough to keep the field free from weeds until the crop crosses the grand growth period stage. Light harrowings are beneficial during the early growth stage. Pinching the terminal bud is essential at six months ago to induce the growth of laterals. The application of GA3 100 ppm spray induces flowering and pod development. The entire plant has to be cut to the ground level leaving a 45 cm stump once in 10 years. The regrowth is quick and the plant starts yielding in about a year. Jatropha can be intercropped with coconut or arecanut gardens along the bunds of water canals. In pure Jatropha plantations, herbal plants like Ashwagandha, asparagus and pulses, vegetables, etc, can be grown as intercrops during the initial growth period.



The bark-eater and pod – borer are the major pests. They can be controlled with herbal pesticides such as mixtures of Vitex, Neem, Aloe, Calotropis, Clerodendron Inerme, etc, or Rogor @ ml/lit of water.

Collar rot may be a problem in the beginning and this can be controlled with 0.2 % copperoxychloride.



The seeds are harvested as needed for medicinal purpose. For oil extraction, the seeds could be harvested all at once when the fruits are turning yellowish in colour. The pods are collected and the seeds are separated mechanically or manually. The seeds are to be dried in the sun for four days (6-10 % moisture level) before packing. With good care every year, the average production of seeds is listed below.

Year of planning                                             Expected yield/ha of irrigated crop (kg)
1styear                                                            250
2ndyear                                                           1000
3rdyear                                                            2500
4thyear                                                            5000
5thyear                                                            8000
6thyear onwards                                           10,000
Mature Jatropha plants yields 4-6 kg dried seeds per plant with an estimated yield of 10-12 t of seeds per hectare in  irrigated plantation from 6th year onwards. With the minimum market price of Rs. 5/kg of seeds an estimated gross return of Rs. 60,000/ha per annum could be realized.

The dried seeds contain 66% kernel, which can yield between 46-58% of oil. The extraction process that has been standardized for edible oils will be followed for extraction of Jatropha oil also. The oil is extracted by solvent extraction or mechanically by hydraulic pressers using a screw press. Using a well-established procedure, the manufacturer can mix the oil with methanol in a particular proportion at a specific temperature and separate the glycerol content, stirring continuously for 2 hours. Washing the residual solution twice yields purified bio-diesel. The production unit comprises, among other things, a vessel with a heater, a stirrer assembly, a container for methanol and oil and few setting tanks to separate the glycerol and a washing tank to purify the fuel.


Cultivation Cost: