Buddha Belly (Jatropha podagrica)


Jatropha podagrica Hook. 1848, commonly called Buddha Belly, Guatemala Rhubarb, Bottleplant Shrub, Tartogo, Gout Plant or Gout Stick, is a tropical, succulent plant, native to Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Jatropha podagrica, nowadays widely spread throughout tropical countries, is well-liked for its swollen belly, a large bottle-like caudex and can reach heigths up to about 60 cm. During the growth season the Buddha Belly, which looks like a natural bonsai, shows big, waxy leaves with a size up to about 30 cm in diameter. Whilst the succulent plant drops its leaves in winter, it flowers all around the year. The Buddha Belly or Gout Plant belongs to the Spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) and is used in natural medicine to reduce swellings and pain and as a treatment against fever and snake bites. Seeds, as well as other parts of the plant, are toxic, if ingested.

Jatropha podagrica plants are considered as easy to care plants, they require warm - hot temperatures and are best cultivated in full sun. Buddha Belly plants can be grown indoors as well, but the less sun the succulent plant gets, the bigger the leaves will grow. During winter rest water and fertilizer should be restricted. The tropical, perennial plant is very drought-tolerant and shouldn`t be overwatered. Jatropha podagrica isn`t hardy and doesn`t tolerate freezing temperatures.

Buddha Belly (Jatropha podagrica)
Flower Photography © OrchidsFlowers.com
Image: Buddha Belly (Jatropha podagrica)

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