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Plant Form: Upright perennial shrub.
Size: Up to 2 m tall.
Stem: Pale green, covered in small whitish hairs when young, turning brown and woody with age. Produce milky sap when damaged.
Leaves: Narrow, elongated up to 13 cm long, tapering to a point at both ends. Oppositely arranged along stems, usually shiny and pale green above and duller underneath.
Flowers: White or cream coloured, drooping, slightly tubular, with 5 fused waxy petals. About 2 cm long, with interesting pouch like structures in centre.
Fruit and Seeds: Balloon-like, 4-7 cm long, light green, on S-shaped stalk. Covered in soft spines up to 1 cm long. Split open at maturity to release numerous brown or black hairy seeds.
Habitat: Roadsides, disturbed sites, waste areas, waterways, open woodlands.
Distinguishing Features: Very hard to distinguish from Balloon cotton bush (Gomphocarpus physocarpus) but may have less round fruit. Expert consultation recommended.