Ricinus communis, our garden’s addition in January 2011

Yippee! We have a new plant(s) for our garden, added last month, free of charge! :)

Ricinus communis (Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant) with attractive reddish-purple foliageIt is botanically known as Ricinus communis. Did a quick search and so happy to have nailed its ID.

We chanced upon this beautiful shrub growing by the roadside in the neighbourhood and it was love at first sight! Captivating reddish-purple or purplish-maroon leaves that are deeply lobed, similar to the palmate leaves of Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ (Red Japanese Maple). And, the shrub was heavily laden with ripened fruits and dried seed pods as if waiting to be hand-plucked!

Prickly seedpods of Castor Bean Plant (Ricinus communis)Hmm…I did as expected and happily brought home some seed pods late last November.
However, I finally sowed the seeds only in mid January. Aargh…what a procrastinator I am! Wonder why I delayed needlessly in propagating this eye-catching Castor Bean Plant when it was such a breeze sowing the seeds.

Simply scatter the smooth and glossy seeds about 3-4 cm apart and push them just below the surface of moist potting medium or garden soil. Then, locate them in bright light or at sunny spots and with normal watering, seeds will germinate within a week or so!

A couple of photos to illustrate our success in getting some Castor Oil Plant seedlings for our tropical garden by this simple and easy method of seed propagation. Waiting eagerly to see them shoot up to decorate our front yard with their beautiful and uniquely coloured foliage!

2-week-old seedlings of Ricinus communis (Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant)3-week old seedlings of Ricinus communis

Hope to do another article of this beauty in the near future with a more complete plant profile to include in our plant database. (Update: June 5 2012 – check out our article on Ricinus communis here).

Meanwhile, here’s some information of this gorgeous plant:

  • Botanical name: Ricinus communis
  • Common names: Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant
  • Family name: Euphorbiaceae
  • Native: Southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa and India
  • Other info: Though popularly grown as an ornamental plant, be aware that its seeds contain the toxic protein ‘ricin’ that are poisonous to people, animals and insects.

Know more about Ricinus communis at Wikipedia and Istria on the internet.

Last edit: June 6, 2016

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6 Responses to “Ricinus communis, our garden’s addition in January 2011”

  1. james Says:

    I have seen this one grown on roadsides and abandon areas many times. Often never really took notice of them but most of the times – I seen them all in green. This however look different as they are in red.
    (probably a different sub-species?)

    And yeah, since they are poisonous – I have refrained it from my garden as my 2 year-old boy have a tendency to pick up things in the garden, play and sometimes put it in the mouth misceviously.

  2. Jacqueline Says:

    Yes, the Castor Bean Plant has a number of cultivars. Bet this colour is lovelier than the green ones, right?
    You’ve made a wise decision, James…better be safe than too late to regret!
    Have a lovely weekend, my friend!

  3. Autumn Belle Says:

    Oh, Jacqueline, this is a very familiar plant to me, one that I use to see by the roadside when I was little. Seeing this plant has brought back a lot of fond memories as I have forgotten all about its existence. What a pleasant surprise!

  4. Jacqueline Says:

    Delighted to know your visit here gladden your heart, A. Belle! We never had the pleasure of discovering this plant before…it was a first time for John and I.

  5. Andy Says:

    Very nice and informative website you have. This red plant really look nice as decorative plant. Wonder where can I get one of those for my garden ?

  6. Jacqueline Says:

    Thanks for the compliment, Andy. So far, we’ve never seen them at garden centers… hope that one day soon, you’ll chance upon a plant filled with seedpods for the taking, huh! :-)

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