Jatropha is a genus of approximately 175 succulent plants, shrubs and trees. It is native to central America and has become neutralized to many tropical and subtropical areas, including India, Africa, and north America. Originating in the Caribbean, Jatropha was spread as a valuable hedge plant to Africa and Asia through trading.
The mature Jatropha Curcas trees bear separate male and female flowers, and do not grow very tall. The size of the Jatropha plant is convenient for the collection of seeds. The plant produces seeds with high oil content (30 - 40%) usually after a year or so depending on soil fertility and rainfall, and continues to produce seeds for more than 20 years. The Jatropha plant is hardy, and can grow in harsh conditions on low fertility soils, in low and high rainfall areas.
Jatropha is a plant that alleviates soil degradation, desertification and deforestation. The plant can be used for climatic protection and carbon capture, and increasing the income for plantations and agro-industries. Glycerol, one of the bi-products in the production of bio-diesel from Jatropha seed oil can be used in soap production.