Jacquemontia pentanthos, is native to the Florida Keys. It grows with the greatest of ease and is very aggressive, even smothering bougainvillea in the garden. It was supposed to grow with, not kill, the white bougainvillea! It is most attractive but needs to be kept in check. Grow it on a wall or fence where it is not competing with any other plant and it will make an eye catching show. It is does not require any particular soil, and is drought tolerant, surviving on rainfall, but it does not like the sea breeze. Interestingly the mealy bug, who so love the morning glory, don’t seem to have a taste for this plant.
It is hard to believe but this is listed as endangered by the State of Florida.
Jatropha is native to Cuba, the West Indies and South America. It was first described by the Austrian botanist, Baron Nikolaus Joseph Freiherr von Jacquin (1727–1817). There are approximately 170 species of which some are succulents and others shrubs and trees. Most are highly toxic.
We have this growing in the garden but it should be removed as it is pretty useless as a ‘garden’ plant. Hearing that the seed produces biodiesel for use in diesel engines excited me for a while but of course the whole garden and more would have to be turned over to growing this dull plant. One remains as it has a vanilla orchid growing on it.
Jatropha integerrima is an evergreen shrub or small tree which flowers continuously with clusters of star shaped bright red or pink flowers which attract butterflies and sun birds. It is happier in full sun or light shade and grows well in a container or planted directly in the ground. It can be pruned at any time as it flowers on the current growth. The berries are highly poisonous.
Jatropha multifida is a fast growing evergreen shrub, often growing close to the sea front in heavy coral where no other plants can survive. It is an exceedingly drought tolerant plant that is not fussy about the soil, or where it is asked to grow, but it needs full sun, and then it will flower more or less continually. It can become a nuisance in the garden.
In Africa it is known as “Moidine”, meaning the “tree of iodine” because of its antiseptic qualities and it is widely used as a cure for all sorts of small injuries.