Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 76, Issue 2, pp 487–497 | Cite as

Current situation and prospects of Jatropha curcas as a multipurpose tree in China

  • Meng Ye
  • Caiyan Li
  • George Francis
  • Harinder P. S. Makkar


This paper reviews the current status of studies on Jatropha curcas in China. Jatropha curcas has been grown in China for more than 300 years. It is mainly distributed in the southwest from the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau to the hot and dry Three-River Valley with hot monsoon climate and the southeast in the provinces of Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and Taiwan along the coast. The regions where it occurs have annual rainfall >500 mm and average annual temperature greater than 19°C. It occurs on a wide range of soil regimes in these regions. In China the jatropha usually blossoms and bears fruits only once a year, but there are also instances of two or more flowerings per year. In some small but high yielding pilot areas, dry fruit output is reported to be 9,000–12,000 kg per ha, whereas in large plantings the output averages only about 1,800 kg per ha. In order to contribute to sustainable production of jatropha, further studies focused on different ecotypes, improvement of seed quality, plantation techniques, flowering and fruiting characteristics, and harvest and post-harvest handling of seeds are required. More research on biomedicinal potential of various parts of the plant and more information on the actual and potential markets is needed to realize the full potential of jatropha.


Benefits Biodiesel Botany China Distribution Jatropha curcas 



This review paper was prepared under the common efforts of Sino–German Scientists collaborating in the BMBF-MoST joint project. Thanks are to Drs. Jianxin Liu, Qiyu Diao, Weiyun Zhu and Klaus Becker for critically reviewing the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Ye
    • 1
  • Caiyan Li
    • 2
  • George Francis
    • 3
  • Harinder P. S. Makkar
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Forestry and HorticultureSichuan Agricultural UniversityYa’anPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Animal Sciences, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Molecular Animal NutritionZhejiang UniversityHangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Institute for Animal Production in the Tropics and Subtropics (480b)University of HohenheimStuttgartGermany

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