Castor Bean – Ricin
With all the news about ricin poison being used by terrorists, I thought I’d show a few pictures of the castor bean plant, Ricinus communis, itself. Many folks in the South grow it. Castor bean leaves make a dramatic tropical statement in a landscape.
Castor bean is frozen to the ground with the first hard freeze. It will sometimes sprout up from the roots but seedlings sprouting underneath are the most likely method of reproduction.
It is from the seeds that ricin is made. They are about the size of a M&M and are are speckled brown. Each one looks sort of like a big tick. This is appropriate since Ricinus means “dog tick” in Latin.
Caution should be exercised if children or curious dogs visit this plant in your landscape.