Caster Oil Plant
Although it is native to the Ethiopian region of tropical east Africa, the castor bean or castor plant (Ricinus communis) has become naturalized in tropical and warm temperate regions throughout the world, and is becoming an increasingly abundant weed in the southwestern United States. Castor plants are very common along stream banks, river beds, bottom lands, and just about any hot area where the soil is well drained and with sufficient nutrients and moisture to sustain the vigorous growth. Although the seeds or beans are extremely poisonous, they are the source of numerous economically important products and are one of earliest commercial products. Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 B.C., and the oil was used thousands of years ago in wick lamps for lighting. To many people the castor plant is just an overgrown, undesirable weed, and yet it produces one of nature's finest natural oils.
The shiny seeds of castor plants are a little larger than pinto beans and have very beautiful and intricate designs. At one end is a small, spongy structure called the caruncle, which aids in the absorption of water when the seeds are planted. Like human faces, finger prints or the spots on a leopard, no two seeds have exactly the same pattern. They are unquestionably among the most deadly seeds on earth, and it is their irresistible appearance that makes them so dangerous.
castoroilplantflorapoisonousflowerChris LordPixielated Pixels
From Botanica Magnifica