Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Bellyache Bush
Jatropha gossypifolia

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Jatropha (JAT-roh-fuh) (Info)
Species: gossypifolia (gos-sip-ee-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Chamma
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By Chamma
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There are a total of 22 photos.
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7 positives
No neutrals
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive TropicalPam On Aug 17, 2013, TropicalPam from Cooper City, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I love the purple in this plant and mine just bloomed cute little flowers :) I just read that this plant is carnivorous???? Anyone know anything about it the sticky hairs on the stems that get the bugs???? Like a sundew plants???? I love carnivorous plants so I love this one even more now LOL!!!! I keep mine in a pot so it doesn't spread.

Positive digforrestdig On Dec 7, 2011, digforrestdig from West Palm Beach, FL wrote:

I always called this plant a coffee plant, but I had a feeling it must of been something else. Every1 seems to adore this plant, I like it as well as it has a very cool look...

Positive claireblair On Jul 15, 2011, claireblair from St Eustatius
Netherlands Antilles wrote:

We have these growing wild in the Caribbean and we call them Pondu. They have traditionally been used here for skin conditions such as bites and stings. Today in fact one of my volunteers that works for me in the Botanical Gardens got stung by a Yellow Jacketed Hornet and I gave him some Pondu. It takes the pain away really quickly and it's a very painful sting!

Negative Z4golfer On Jul 11, 2011, Z4golfer from Houston, TX wrote:

Beautiful plant, but a weed, nevertheless! It shoots its seeds all over the place. It kind of sounds like caps being struck and the next thing, it is a hurling seeds through the air. I have been pulling this plant for 4 years and I still get one occasionally peeking its head through the mulch. I prefer a Jatropha tree over this plant that was originally given to me.

Positive Anjana On Apr 13, 2011, Anjana from Delhi
India wrote:

this plant grows in my delhi and rajasthan homes in india. in soil it can become a medium sized tree. i keep it outside my kitchen as my former housekeeper treated a deep cut from a knife to his hand with sap of this plant. it immediately stopped the spurting blood flow.

Positive IslandJim On Jun 5, 2004, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

I first got one of these plants at a plant sale at the local cactus and succulent society. It was planted on the clubhouse grounds and I noticed it had seeded itself around. So I decided to keep it in a pot on the patio. It has not seeded itself anywhere in the 3 or 4 years I've had it. I really like the look of it.

Negative palmbob On Aug 29, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love trying to grow Jatrophas in So Cal, and this is one that did better than expected. It turned into a gorgeous little tree about 3' tall and with 30+ little twisted branches... sort of like a big bonsai tree. Then it produced lots of little flowers and the next thing I know it's everywhere. It is a very easy weed to pull up, but it has become a weed, nontheless. And it's a really sticky, gooed plant to prune. It also doesn't take watering heavily in the winter (the main plant rotted about 4 years after growing)... but LOVES water in the summer (got a 3' tree from a seed in just 1 growing season)... and more weed spread from there. The garden is now hopeless inundated with this Jatropha, and though I still like it's looks, don't really want it everywhere. Careful when planting this in a warm climate.

Positive MotherNature4 On May 31, 2003, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is a container grown plant but lives outdoors in central Florida. It dropped some leaves when the temperature got down to 32 for a short time. It quickly recovered, and is blooming now (May and June).

Positive Monocromatico On May 30, 2003, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

Very beautiful plant. It grows spontaneously in an abandoned area near my home. The contrast between the purple leaves and green fruits is something special. It grows in aired, a bit salty and poor soil, I don't know if it does well in other conditions, though. It has glands all over its body and around the leaves (which has also a hairy texture)


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Thousand Oaks, California
Bartow, Florida
Boynton Beach, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Deland, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida (2 reports)
Key West, Florida
Largo, Florida
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Ormond Beach, Florida
Palm City, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Saint James City, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Stuart, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Titusville, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Jayess, Mississippi
Saint Helena Island, South Carolina
Bellaire, Texas
College Station, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Hallettsville, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
Meyersville, Texas
Rockport, Texas

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