Haplophyton is a genus of plants in the family Apocynaceae, first described in 1844. It is native to the southwestern United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Guatemala.[1][2] It is a suffrutescent herb with alternative leaves and showy colorful flowers.[3]

The common name cockroach plant (or hierba de la cucaracha) is in reference to its insecticidal properties. It has been used to kill cockroaches, fleas, flies, lice, and mosquitoes.[4] Leaf extracts and sap contain many insecticidal compounds — such as the indole alkaloid aspidophytine.


Some authors accept three species in the genus, others recognize two, considering H. cinereum synonymous with H. cimicidum. The World Checklist recognizes:

  • Haplophyton cimicidum A.DC. (syn H. cinereum (A.Rich.) Woodson) - Michoacán, Puebla, Morelos, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guatemala; naturalized in Cuba
  • Haplophyton crooksii (L.D.Benson) L.D.Benson - S Arizona, SW New Mexico, W Texas, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Cuba


  1. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ Biota of North America Program 2013 county distribution map, Haplophyton crooksii
  3. ^ Williams, J. K. 1995. Miscellaneous notes on Haplophyton (Apocynaceae: Plumerieae: Haplophytinae). Sida 16(3): 469–475
  4. ^ McLaughlin, S.P. 1993. Apocynaceae A.L. Juss., Dogbane Family. Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science 27:164-168.

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