Castor Bean | Poisonous | Growing Tall

Our View From Iowa

These photos were taken August 10, 2014. Castor Bean (Ricinus communis) was growing tall and strong. The top of the plant was 5 feet high. Yes, I do understand this plant is toxic.

August 10, 2014 | 5 ft tall August 10, 2014 | 5 ft tall

I remember that my mother grew some of these on the farm in Illinois when I was a kid. Their height of 10 – 12 feet was very impressive to a small boy.

Two inch wide stalk Two inch wide stalk

Some of the leaves are 2 feet wide. I like their pronounced vein structure. They are casting shade on the smaller pepper plants below.

Leaves are at least 2 ft wide Leaves are at least 2 ft wide

I was a skinny little kid. Mom was concerned that I was not eating enough. The doctor advised her to give me a daily large spoonful of castor oil just before the main meal. It turned out to be good…

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3 thoughts on “Castor Bean | Poisonous | Growing Tall

  1. The castor bean plant reminds me of rhubarb. It has similarly large leaves, also poisonous, and also has rosy-red stalks. My parents grew rhubarb in their victory garden during WW II and my mother would cook rhubarb stalks as a vegetable. I liked it – it’s very tart but she used a lot of sugar with it. Rhubarb’s Wiki page says that many people in the U.K. were sickened when someone recommended eating its leaves. Another chunk of trivia in my mental attic. 🙂

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  2. When I saw this post I laughed because I wrote a 2 part post on Ricinus communis growing in P.R.. When I read your post I thought it was so funny to know that it was also growing in Iowa, I couldn’t believe it! Yet, in Greece, in the Wiki article, R. communis are grown as small trees and in public places. In northern countries they are grown as annuals. India is the leader in cultivation for commercial purposes. It is an extremely versatile and useful plant (according to encyclopedic literature). In Florida it’s almost all over the place, just as it is in P.R.. It think the idea of removing the flower and seeds is very good, if you plan to keep the plant in your patio, although even the leaves are also thought to be irritants.

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