Jatropha integerrima: Peregrina

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Common name: Peregrina, Spicy jatropha

Peregrina plants can be grown as shrubs or as small trees in your garden, and it produces beautiful red flowers year-round. Native to Cuba, this plant is now grown as an ornamental plant in all parts of the world. They reach a height of about 15 feet, almost as big as a tree. The leaves vary in shape and could be oblong or fiddle-shaped.

Flowers are mostly deep-red with very beautiful stamens that are red with yellow borders. These pretty flowers grow in clusters all over the plant, lighting the plant on fire with its deep red clusters. Each cluster has between 20-40 five-petaled flowers. Peregrina plants usually have multiple stems coming up from the ground, so that the plant can grow into a beautiful uniform shape. It can also be pruned moderately.

The flowers then form seed capsules that contain many smooth, speckled and toxic seeds. All parts of the plant are toxic because of the milky sap contained in it. But the flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies, who aid in pollination. One more variant with pink flowers also exist, though the red-flowered one is more common. The plant needs direct sunlight; so it’s not advisable to grow them as indoor plants.

Propagation is through seeds or from stem cuttings.

Image Credits: Gopakumar Neelakantan

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