Diversity and distribution of genus Jatropha in Mexico
biodiversity, biogeography, cluster analysis, Jatropha, Species richness
In Mexico and all over the world, the number of studies on the species of the Jatropha genus has increased because of the use of its seed oil to produce biodiesel. However, the knowledge of the taxonomy, distribution, and ethnobotany of these and related species is incomplete. This article presents the distribution of the genus in Mexico according to its internationally accepted taxonomic identity. The distribution is linked to environmental variables such as elevation, climate type, soil, and soil moisture patterns. In addition to showing the current taxonomical knowledge in Mexico, this article discusses its biogeography, its traditional uses and the research lines to follow in further study of the genus. The distribution results show that some species are broadly adapted; as a consequence, they are present in many different environments. Species such as J. dioica, J. curcas, J. cordata, J. cinerea and J. gaumeri are distributed in areas with well defined environmental conditions. However, the distribution of species such as J. riojae has not yet been ascertained. Three areas with high species richness were identified, and they are very important for the study and conservation of the genus. Mexico is a global center of diversity for this genus. Food and medicinal uses have been reported for some species. This article concludes with recommendations for further study to improve the knowledge of this genus in Mexico.