How to Harvest Jatropha Seeds


The jatropha plant is an ornamental shrub that is originally from Cuba but can now be found growing in backyards throughout USDA hardiness zones 10b through 11. The sun-loving plant is known for its bright red flowers that bloom all year. Harvest and collect the shrub's seeds from its inch-long seed pods so you can start new jatropha shrubs to add to your collection.

Step 1

Wait for the jatropha shrub's seed pods to ripen and dry naturally on the shrub. Premature harvesting will result in nonviable seeds. The seed pods are typically ready two to three months after the shrub's flower falls off and will have a brown color with a dry texture that crackles easily when you press it.

Step 2

Pull the seed pods away from the jatropha plant at an angle. Each pod will snap off with little resistance. If it doesn't, the pod is not ready to be harvested.

Step 3

Use your fingers and pull apart the seed pod's outer husk, revealing the seeds inside. Shake the pod over a container to collect the seeds.

Step 4

Sort the seeds. Discard any pieces of pod husk that may have inadvertently fallen into the container. Also remove any seeds that are shriveled or black. Pour the remaining seeds into a paper envelope and seal it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Jatropha seeds are toxic if ingested. Keep the seeds away from pets or young children.

Things You'll Need

  • Jatropha seed pods
  • Container


  • "The Homeowner's Complete Tree & Shrub Handbook"; Penelope O'Sullivan and Karen Bussolini; 2007
  • University of Florida: Jatropha
Keywords: Jatropha seeds, harvest Jatropha, Jatropha shrub

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.