Bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypifolia
) is an erect, highly toxic, annual woody tropical or sub-tropical perennial. It is considered an invasive weed in many areas. J. gossypifolia
looks similar to the castor oil and physic nut plants. It has leaf stalks covered with coarse dark brown hairs and the young leaves are sticky. It produces purple flowers and capsular fruits which contain three tiny brown seeds. There is a large variation in flower color.
All parts of bellyache bush are poisonous, however, the seeds are most toxic. The main toxins include purgative oil and curcin. Curcin is similar to ricin, the toxic protein of the highly toxic castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)