Physic nut

(Ludwigia brachyphylla)



Jatropha curcas (Synonym Jatropha pilosa; Jussiaea pilosa) is also being studied for use as a carbon sequestration plant in arid regions. Much like other members of the family Euphorbiaceae, members of the genus Jatropha contain several toxic compounds. The seeds of Jatropha curcas contain the highly poisonous toxalbumin curcin, a lectin dimer. They also contain carcinogenic phorbol. Despite this, the seeds are occasionally eaten after roasting, which reduces some of the toxicity. Its sap is a skin irritant, and ingesting as few as three untreated seeds can be fatal to humans. In 2005 Western Australia banned Jatropha gossypiifolia as invasive and highly toxic to people and animals. Even though it was used as medicine in certain geographic regions, it was found to have no antimicrobial activity. Jatropha curcas is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that is native to the American tropics, most likely Mexico and Central America. It is originally native to the tropical areas of the Americas from Mexico to Argentina, and has been spread throughout the world in tropical and subtropical regions around the world, becoming naturalized or invasive in many areas. The specific epithet, "curcas", was first used by Portuguese doctor Garcia de Orta more than 400 years ago. Common names in English include physic nut, Barbados nut, poison nut, bubble bush or purging nut] In parts of Africa and areas in Asia such as India it is often known as castor oil plant or hedge castor oil plant. J. curcas is a semi-evergreen shrub or small tree, reaching a height of 6 m (20 ft) or more. It is resistant to a high degree of aridity, allowing it to grow in deserts. It contains phorbol esters, which are considered toxic.However, edible (non-toxic) provenances native to Mexico also exist, known by the local population as piñón manso, xuta, chuta, aishte, among others. J. curcas also contains compounds such as trypsin inhibitors, phytate, saponins and a type of lectin known as curcin. The seeds contain 27–40% oil (average: 34.4%) that can be processed to produce a high-quality biodiesel fuel, usable in a standard diesel engine. Edible (non-toxic) provenances can be used for animal feed and food.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Class: Magnoliopsida
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