From South America comes the oddity known as the Buddha’s Belly plant because of the swollen lower part of the stem which is a water storage reservoir. The glossy lobed leaves of Jatropha Podagrica drop in winter but the bright coral red flowers are produced pretty much year round. Tender, so an indoor specimen, at least in winter. Enjoys a light position without too much direct sun. Well drained soil. 24 to 36 in. Do not ingest. 2 litre pot.
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The weird and wonderful Jatropha Podagrica rejoices in a number of common names. Buddha's Belly plant and bottle plant are simply references to the swollen caudex like base of the stem, while purging nut dates from times when the seed pots were eaten as a laxative. Gout plant (Podagra is the medical term for gout) presumably refers to another medical application in former times, or is it just another reference to the swollen trunk? Answers on a postcard please .... As for nettlespurge and Guatemalan rhubarb, don't ask.
Jatropha Podagrica is an easy plant to care for. A bit of light, a weekly splash of water and an occasional feed in the summer, then leave it to its own devices during the winter months, when it shouldn't really require any watering if kept cool (but not cold!).
Leaves are produced throughout the growing season, with new ones replacing older leaves, which will drop off, so don't think your plant is unhappy when that happens.
Not to be confused with its relative Jatropha Curcas, which hit the headlines some years ago when it was billed as a future energy source, as itr can be easily converted to biodiesel. It seems it was a tad overhyped, and things have gone quiet on that front more recently.
Jatropha Podagrica is a tender succulent perennial with a swollen trunk, glossy lobed leaves and coral red flowers suitable for growing as a houseplant.