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Publication #ENH478

Jatropha integerrima: Peregrina1

Edward F. Gilman, Dennis G. Watson, Ryan W. Klein, Andrew K. Koeser, Deborah R. Hilbert, and Drew C. McLean2

Introduction

This slender-stemmed, multi-trunked tropical evergreen tree or large shrub, a native of Cuba, reaches 15 feet in height with an equal spread, and has unusual 3 to 6-inch-long leaves varying in shape from oblong, fiddle-shaped, or even-lobed. The 1-inch-widebright red or pink flowers are produced year-round in beautiful clusters held upright above the foliage and helps make fire-cracker an interesting specimen plant. The seed capsules which follow hold several smooth, speckled, and toxic seeds, a fact which must be considered when placing this plant in the landscape; it should be kept out of the reach of children.

Figure 1. 

Full Form - Jatropha integerrima: peregrina


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

General Information

Scientific name: Jatropha integerrima

Pronunciation: jat-ROE-fuh in-teh-GAIR-rih-muh

Common name(s): peregrina, jatropha, fire-cracker

Family: Euphorbiaceae

USDA hardiness zones: 10B through 11 (Fig. 6)

Origin: native to Cuba

UF/IFAS Invasive Assessment Status: not considered a problem species at this time, may be recommended (North, Central, South)

Uses: specimen; deck or patio; container or planter; trained as a standard; highway median

Figure 2. 

Range


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Description

Height: 10 to 15 feet

Spread: 10 to 15 feet

Crown uniformity: symmetrical

Crown shape: vase, round

Crown density: open

Growth rate: moderate

Texture: medium

Foliage

Leaf arrangement: alternate

Leaf type: simple

Leaf margin: lobed

Leaf shape: oblong to obovate; 0-3-lobed with acuminate tips

Leaf venation: pinnate

Leaf type and persistence: broadleaf evergreen, evergreen

Leaf blade length: 3 to 6 inches

Leaf color: dark green and shiny of top, paler green underneath

Fall color: no color change

Fall characteristic: not showy

Figure 3. 

Leaf - Jatropha integerrima: peregrina


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Flower

Flower color: bright red or pink

Flower characteristics: showy; emerges in clusters on terminal cymes

Flowering: year-round

Figure 4. 

Flower - Jatropha integerrima: peregrina


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Fruit

Fruit shape: oval

Fruit length: ½ to 1 inch

Fruit covering: 6-lobed capsule that contains 3 smooth and spotted seeds

Fruit color: unknown

Fruit characteristics: does not attract wildlife; not showy; fruit/leaves not a litter problem

Figure 5. 

Fruit - Jatropha integerrima: peregrina


Credit:

UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Trunk and Branches

Trunk/branches: branches droop; not showy; typically multi-trunked; no thorns

Bark: gray brown and smooth, becoming textured with age

Pruning requirement: needed for strong structure

Breakage: resistant

Current year twig color: brown

Current year twig thickness: medium

Wood specific gravity: unknown

Figure 6. 

Bark - Jatropha integerrima: peregrina


Credit:

Gitta Hasing, UF/IFAS


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Culture

Light requirement: full sun to partial shade

Soil tolerances: clay; sand; loam; acidic; alkaline; well-drained

Drought tolerance: moderate

Aerosol salt tolerance: moderate

Soil salt tolerance: none

Other

Roots: not a problem

Winter interest: yes

Outstanding tree: yes

Invasive potential: little invasive potential

Ozone sensitivity: unknown

Verticillium wilt susceptibility: unknown

Pest resistance: resistant to pests/diseases

Use and Management

Jatropha makes a delightful red-flowered accent in a shrub border planted to attract attention to an area. It flowers nearly year-round and so is quite popular as a patio tree or garden accent. Multiple trunks and stems originate near the ground forming a symmetrical, weeping clump of thinly-clothed branches. The tree can be staked and trained to grow with one trunk for two or three feet. This is a nice way to display the plant as an accent or specimen. Do not expect this small tree to provide shade, but it will attract hummingbirds and butterflies.

Peregrina should be grown in full sun or partial shade on well-drained soil. Full sun plants flower best. It is not salt-tolerant.

There is a pink-flowered form available at some nurseries.

Propagation is by seed or cuttings.

Pests and Diseases

No pests or diseases are of major concern but occasionally bothered by mites, scales, and superficial leaf miner.

Reference

Koeser, A.K., Friedman, M.H., Hasing, G., Finley, H., Schelb, J. 2017. Trees: South Florida and the Keys. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Footnotes

1.

This document is ENH478, one of a series of the Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date November 1993. Revised December 2018. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

2.

Edward F. Gilman, professor emeritus, Environmental Horticulture Department; Dennis G. Watson, former associate professor, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department; Ryan W. Klein, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department; Andrew K. Koeser, assistant professor, Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; Deborah R. Hilbert, graduate assistant, Environmental Horticulture Department, GCREC; and Drew C. McLean, biological scientist, Environmental Horticulture Department, GCREC; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.