Thursday, July 21, 2011

Castor Bean

Ricinus communis
An evergreen tropical tree, reaching a maximum size of 50 x 50 feet in zone 10 +, can be grown as an extremely fast growing, bushy, massive annual in temperate climates. As an annual, it can reach up to 15 x 8 feet in a single season. As an annual it can be used as a spectacular focal point, as a temporary screen or to shade more permanent plants that are establishing. The Castor Bean is native to the eastern Mediterranean region, India and eastern Africa.
The long stalked, massive, tropical appearing leaves are palmately lobed and up to 40 inches across.
It is mainly grown for its foliage rather than the insignificant green flowers borne during the summer. Bristly seed heads follow.
Thrives in full sun on moist, fertile soil. In temperate climates, plant seed outdoor as soon as threat of frost has passed in spring. It prefers climates with hot humid summers and may not thrive in more maritime climates such as the British Isles, Canadas Maritime Provinces and northern Europe.
Pharmacology: this plant is poisonous and any part of it MUST NEVER BE EATEN!
As few as 4 seeds can kill an adult.

* photos taken on October 17 2011 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

* photos of unknown internet source

* photo taken on Aug 20 2011 @ Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD

Large purple leaves and purplish-black stems.

* photos taken on October 17 2011 @ U.S. National Arboretum, D.C.

Red stems and foliage.

* photo taken @ Smithsonian Inst, Wash., DC on Aug 25 2014

* photos taken on Oct 21 2014 @ Smithsonian Inst., Washington, DC

* photo taken on July 25 2015 @ Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Foliage is green and boldly veined white.

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