Jatropha gossypiifolia (Bellyache bush) is a large shrub that typically grows up to 5-10 ft tall and is native to tropical regions of America. The plant requires full sun or semi-shaded conditions and regular watering. The vibrant red or crimson flowers of the plant have a vinous odor and are known to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. In addition, the plant has medicinal properties and is used as an ethnomedical plant, though the sap may be irritating on contact. Jatropha gossypifolia is similar to Jatropha curcas but the leaf stalks are covered with coarse dark brown hairs and the young leaves are sticky.
Jatropha gossypifolia, the plant is suitable for growing in USDA Zones 9-11 and does well in large pots or containers in colder regions. Due to its narrow root system, it's important to keep the potting mix consistently moist, but not wet, throughout all seasons. In order to maintain best performance, the soil should be well-draining and of the highest quality organic compost. Regular applications of fertilizer during the growing season will result in more flowers and better overall plant health. As the plant is strongly susceptible to fungal diseases, it is recommended to avoid over-watering and regularly inspect for signs of fungal infection.
The capsular fruit contains three tiny brown seeds. All parts are considered toxic but in particular the seeds.