BELLYACHE BUSH, COTTON-LEAVED PHYSIC NUT (WEED)
Jatropha gossypiifolia, Fam. Euphorbiaceae
Squat erect thick-stemmed perennial shrub 2.5-4 m tall. Stems have course sticky glandular hairs.
|Form or habit:||Shrub or small tree|
Young leaves deeply divided into three rounded lobes, purple, sticky, prominent gland-tipped margins. Mature leaves alternate, bright green, about 100mm in diameter, 3-5 lobes, margins covered in coarse, dark brown hairs.
|Flower colour:||Red petals and yellow centre|
|Flower description:||Small with red petals and yellow centre, about 4mm across, borne in clusters on upper parts of plant.|
|Fruit description:||Oval 3-lobed capsules, about 12 x 10mm, containing 3-4 oblong seeds about 8mm long, that are explosively expelled at maturity|
|Food source for:||Who eats it|
|Toxicity:||Toxic if ingested, potential allergen, toxic or irritant to domestic pets,Toxic to native animals|
|Weed status:||Environmental/garden escapee, category 3 restricted invasive|
|Notes:||Spread by: Seeds ‘fired’ up to 12m from parent plants, spread by water and in contaminated soil on machinery and vehicles. Tuberous roots produce suckers, especially after any disturbance. Invades/threats: Disturbed areas, native vegetation, pastures. Notes: Introduced as a garden ornamental; now a major weed of North Queensland, forming dense thickets. To date only recorded from 2 small populations this region – The Slade Point Reserve and Grass Tree area. May still be present in older gardens. Used medicinally and for oil overseas but poisonous to humans and stock. Category 3 restrictive invasive plant under the Biosecurity Act 2014. It must not be given away, sold, or released into the environment without a permit. The Act requires everyone to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risks associated with invasive plants and animals under their control. This is called a general biosecurity obligation (GBO).|
|Information sources:||Mackay Regional Pest Management Group (2011) Weeds of the Mackay Whitsunday Region.|