Higuerilla, Castor-Oil Plant, Palma Christi
Ricinus communis L.
Longevity : Perennial
Castor bean can be found growing in the South Texas Plains and Edwards Plateau in waste areas and old fields. A stout large herb, it can grow up to 15 feet tall. The leaves have six to eleven lobes with toothed edges and can measure up to 1 1/2 feet wide. The small green flowers are in clusters and have no petals. The fruit matures in August to September and are an inch in diameter with soft spines. The seeds inside the fruit resemble the Ricinus tick, giving the insect it’s name. The seeds contain ricin, one of the most toxic compounds known, and can cause poisoning in livestock. Signs of poisoning include anorexia, depression, abdomonal pain, colic in horses, diarrhea, and weakness. Castor Bean is the source of many industrial oils and is cultivated by many gulf states. It is said to have originated in either Africa or India.
Click image to enlarge.