J is for Jatropha

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A-Z Photographic Glossary of Biological Terms challenge!

As it happens, J is a particularly difficult letter to find a biological term for when it comes to using wildlife photography as the medium. “Juvenile” seems rather too easy and finding a photo that would depict “junk DNA” or a “jejunum” (part of the small intestine in humans) nigh on impossible! So for today, please excuse the cop-out as we consider J for Jatropha, as illustrated by the Buddha Belly plant or Guatemalan Rhubarb (Jatropha podagrica) from the Sittee River Wildlife , Stann Creek District, Belize.

Jatropha is a genus of flowering plants in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. The name is derived from the Greek words ἰατρός (iatros), meaning “physician,” and τροφή (trophe), meaning “nutrition,” hence another common name of Physic Nut, but as with many members of the family Euphorbiaceae, Jatropha species contain compounds that are highly toxic.

Jatropha podagrica is native to Central America and its nectar prized amongst ants, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

22117659099_d77abb1d0b_oThe vivid orange inflorescence as visited by a Dark Rover Ant (Brachymyrmex patagonicus) in Belize.

For more photos of the entire plant, including macro and micro, please check out this close-up study by Brian Johnston.

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