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Plant Form: Erect deciduous shrub or tree.
Size: Up to 4 m tall.
Stem: Young stems are purplish and hairy, older are softly woody, thick and succulent with a soapy sap.
Leaves: 10-15 cm long with 3 or 5 deep lobes, and on long stalks. Purplish with sticky hairs when young, turning green with age.
Flowers: Small and in loose branched clusters at the tip of stems 10-15 cm long. Purple to red with 5 petals.
Fruit and Seeds: Three lobed hairy oval or oblong capsules, green to brown as they mature.
Habitat: Drier tropical or subtropical areas, forests, waterways and disturbed areas.
Distinguishing Features: Distinguished from Physic nut (Jatropha curcas) and Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis) by sticky hairs on young stems and leaves.