Probably everyone at one time in their life has had the rather unpleasant experience of taking castor oil. Attempting to disguise the disagreeable taste with peppermint or fruit juice often results in a permanent dislike for the flavor enhancer as well as the castor oil. 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 castor plant is a robust annual that may grow 6 to 15 feet (2-5 meters) in one season with full sunlight, heat and adequate moisture. In areas with mild, frost-free winters it may live for many years and become quite woody and tree-like. The large, palmately lobed leaves may be over 20 inches (50 cm) across and resemble a tropical aralia. There are several cultivated varieties with strikingly different foliage colorations, including black-purplish, dark red-metallic, bronze-green, maroon, bright green with white veins, and just plain green. Although it grows very rapidly with little care or insect pests and produces a mass of lush tropical foliage, its use in cultivation should be discouraged because of the extremely poisonous seeds or "beans." This is particularly true where small children might be attracted to the large, beautifully-mottled seeds which are produced in prodigious numbers.Castor bean plant showing large, tropical, palmately-lobed leaf and cluster of spiny red fruits. On some plants the fruits are green.
Castor Bean Flowers & Fruits
Flowers occur most of the year in dense terminal clusters (inflorescences), with female flowers just above the male flowers. This species is clearly monoecious, with separate male and female flowers on the same individual. There are no petals and each female flower consists of a little spiny ovary (which develops into the fruit or seed capsule), and a bright red structure with feathery branches (stigma lobes) that receives pollen from male flowers. Each male flower consists of a cluster of many stamens which literally smoke as they shed pollen in a gust of wind.
Flower cluster (inflorescence) of castor bean (Ricinus communis). The upper spiny balls (ovaries) with red, star-shaped stigmas are the female flowers. The lower male buds open into whitish-yellow clusters of stamens. The wind-pollinated flowers have no petals.
The spiny seed pod or capsule is composed of three sections or carpels which split apart at maturity. Each section (carpel) contains a single seed, and as the carpel dries and splits open, the seed is often ejected with considerable force. Walking among large castor shrubs on a hot summer day can be quite an experience, with the sound of exploding carpels and seeds flying through the air and bouncing off road signs, sidewalks, and your head.
Castor bean fruit (Ricinus communis): The spiny, globose seed capsule (left) dries and splits into 3 sections called carpels (center). Each carpel (right) splits open and forcibly ejects a large seed. In the related Mexican jumping bean (Sebastiana pavoniana), a moth occupies each carpel and feeds on the seed tissue inside.
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.
The many "faces" of castor seeds. Like the faces and fingerprints of people, the beautiful designs on castor seeds exhibit infinite genetic variation. The small structure on the end of each seed is a caruncle. The seeds superficially resemble the bodies of ticks, particularly ticks engorged with blood.
We can pack Seasem seed, Ground nuts and Castor seeds as per buyers details.