The Central Florida Amateur Gardener - October 1997


In the fourth chapter of The Hand of Fu Manchu , a novel by Sax Rohmer, the Flower of Silence turns out to be a species of Jatropha (a presumably fictional species). The Flower of Silence kills whenever any of its poison-filled hollow thorns punctures the skin of a character in the story.

None of the plants mentioned in this page has thorns. Of the three plants pictured, the first (Jatropha multifida, right) was started from seed, the second (Jatropha hastata ) was obtained from a discount store, and the third (Jatropha gossypifolia ) is a descendant of a decorative plant purchased at an antique mall and flea market.

Jatropha hastata. Flowers and foliage.


Jatropha gossypifolia . Foliage, seed pods, and flower.

The flowers of Jatropha gossypifolia are much smaller that those of Jatropha hastata, but the corresponding seed pods are not much different in shape and size.

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