|January 2006. A weed found on the Island of Savu, Indonesia (North of Darwin), which has appeared in the last decade, spreading rapidly on the dry pastureland and being poisonous to livestock. It is a ‘waist high’, sticky, shrubby, red-leaved euphorbia with small red flowers with yellow centres to the petals and yellow reproductive parts. More photos can be seen at http://www.newendeavour.com: Select ‘digital flora’, then ‘Indonesia’ in the country field and type in ‘euphorbiaceae’ in the family field.
It was recognised as Jatropha gossypiifolia L. (Bellyache Bush) (Euphorbiaceae). It is also prevalent in dry to semidry areas of New Caledonia; in very dense infestations in east Timor. Unlike its relative, J. curcas, the plant becomes weedy in dry sunny places, such as Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands and Viti Levu, Fiji. It also have the common name of bellyache bush. A deswcription of J curcas is at: http://www.hear.org/pier/species/jatropha_curcas.htm.
It was said that the plant has commercial potential as the oil extracted from the seed can be used as bio-diesel. In India it is commercially grown on waste lands.
For control of J. gossypiifolia, a few years ago scientists at the CSIRO Division of Entomology were conducting research on a biological control agent Agonosoma trilineatum (Heteroptera: Scutelleridae), a potential biocontrol agent. Contact CSIRO Entomology, Long Pocket Laboratories, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia for details.