Back in November 2017 Jack had a craze for growing unusual plants from seeds. Do you remember his love affair with the desert rose? (see here)
Then in February 2018 another unusual plant caught his eye, with a common name of Buddha’s belly (Jatropha Podagrica). Maybe it was the name that attracted him…
Jatropha podagrica is a species of succulent plants known by several English common names, including Buddha belly plant, bottleplant shrub, gout plant, purging-nut, Guatemalan rhubarb, and goutystalk nettlespurge. It is native to the tropical Americas but it is propagated as an ornamental plant in many parts of the world.
The stem is swollen into vasculum at the base and filled with thin sap. The plant bears bright red coral-like flowers throughout the year. All parts, especially the seeds, of the plant contain the toxic curcin, making it poisonous.
Jatropha podagrica is also known for its incredible ability to attract a variety of butterflies wherever it is grown. (Wikipedia)
So he sent to EBay for seeds. 10 arrived and they were carefully nurtured and watched over. BUT only one actually germinated. It was potted on and put near the warm (actually hot in summer) northern wall. Over the next few months it thrived in the heat and it’s belly got bigger. Then came winter and this year we have had record night-time temperatures. Actually falling to an unprecedented 4C. Poor plant suffered, he felt the cold and overnight he dropped all his leaves and looked very sad. We thought he may die.
I didn’t take any photos…
But with spring just around the corner there is a beautiful spurt of growth and Jack was delighted to again take a photo of the revival and regrowth. I have also seen that it will eventually grow to 2-3 metres tall.