Jatropha Species, Bellyache Bush, Black Physicnut, Cotton-Leaf Physicnut

Jatropha gossypiifolia

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Jatropha (JAT-roh-fuh) (Info)
Species: gossypiifolia
Synonym:Jatropha gossypiifolia var. typica



Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade


Unknown - Tell us

Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual


Seed is poisonous if ingested

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Lakeland, Florida

Largo, Florida

Leesburg, Florida

Melbourne Beach, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Orlando, Florida(2 reports)

Ormond Beach, Florida

Palm City, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Saint James City, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Spring Hill, Florida

Stuart, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Umatilla, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(2 reports)

Jayess, Mississippi

Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes

Saint Helena Island, South Carolina

Bellaire, Texas

College Station, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Hallettsville, Texas

Houston, Texas

Lake Jackson, Texas

Meyersville, Texas

Rockport, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 20, 2020, Heart2heart60 from Lakeland, FL wrote:

I live in Lakeland fl 9a and the bellyache is doing wonderful. Love the colors of leaves and the flowers. It grows in the ground and part shade. No disappointed.


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 that....is 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.


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...


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!


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.


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.


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.


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 t... read more


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).


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)