jatropha gossypiifolia bellyache bush

During our mission trip to the interior of Sabah in early October I took pictures of some of the plants growing in the compound of the church where we were staying. I spotted this plant which I had never encountered before with very interesting looking berries and leaves, and cute little red flowers.

After the trip I tried to find out what it was and after hours of sifting through the pictures I had googled on the internet, I eventually got the name of this plant as bellyache bush (Jatropha gossypiifolia). I was slightly deflated to find out that this good-looking plant has in fact been classified as pest plant/noxious weed in Australia due to it “out-competes native vegetation, takes over extensive sections of river frontage and reduces biodiversity.” I guess I should not have been surprised by looking at the name of this plant that the berries are not edible, in fact, these cherry-sized berries are poisonous to both human and animals and can lead to the eventual death of some animals.

jatropha gossypiifolia bellyache bush

jatropha gossypiifolia bellyache bush leaves

I was initially attracted to the cute green berries, interesting looking green and burgundy leaves and sweet little flowers and only later that I found out it is not an “attractive” plant at all with its aggressive nature and the poison strong enough to kill that it carries in its fruit. Appearance can be deceiving.

And while talking about appearance, I was drawn to a particular scripture verse that I really like though it is not related to deceit, poisonous personality or toxic mind…

Proverbs 31:30
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

箴言 31:30
30 艷麗是虛假的,美容是虛浮的;

I am reminded that outward appearance is not what delights the heart of God but our reverent awe towards Him, our creator and a character that is obediently and humbly bent to His will with submissiveness that allows Him to work in us and mould us for the fulfilment of His purpose in our lives!

jatropha gossypiifolia bellyache bush

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