Physic nut (Jatropha curcas): miracle plant or a treat in Ethiopia?
AbstractPhysic nut or Ayderkie in Amharic and Gullo in Oromiffa is a bush or small tree adapted in the drier and warmer areas of Ethiopia. It endures moisture stress by dropping its leaves during dry period and flourishes when the rain comes. The plant has received enormous attention of the government as raw material for biodiesel industry. Hence a serious of silvicultural and genotype testing have been carried out in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia. The result indicated that physic nut has a very narrow genetic base probably due to its ease of vegetative propagation. Furthermore, the plant needs intensive improved management such as sufficient moisture, mulching, fertile soil, and pruning for successful seed production. Although, physic nut is thought to have least disease and insect incidence, it is not the case in Ethiopia. Physic nut is not used as food, feed, or firewood; its use lies only in hedges and in the soap industry. Over all, the myths of physic nut are unfounded and its distribution needs to be regulated.