You've all been too helpful and so I'm back for some more expert info. Does anyone have any idea what the plant in the attached pic is? It is a volunteer, but possibly a remnant from this house's previous owners. It grows right at the foot of a coconut palm in my back yard, and has pretty little red flowers. It's one of my wife's favorite plants, which figures since it's the one I put the least effort into... :)
Jatropha is a great plant. Propagates quite easily by cutting --here in Vieques, I've taken 12" pieces, scraped the cut ends gently to expose epithelial cells, dusted with hormone powder and planted in loosened soil. Every single one has taken root and many have flowered in year 1 (though they've not grown upwards as quickly as I'd like --what else is new, right?)
Here's how the "natives" looked, along our fence line during construction. Sorry I can't find my shots of the cuttings I planted, which went in at the bottom right of this shot. The natives have not gotten much taller, but have arched out over the yard (My idea was to create an "allee" of jatropha --see ya in a few years!)
You see the jatropha is to the right, then there's some Pride of Barbados (more orangey), then bougainvillea (almost magenta) above the big philo.
Wow - those are some fine specimens in your pic. Mine is still quite bushy - about 4 feet tall and equally as wide. You inspired me: due to a landscaping project I now have a bunch of extra space to plant and I just did some clippings to hopefully start some new bushes for the front yard too.
I'm still waiting for any roots to appear on the cutting I did. I think the piece I used might not have been woody enough. Anyway, in the meantime I went to the garden center yesterday and bought their last 4. This morning they went in the ground and they're now enjoying our bright Aruban sunshine.