A Star Shaped Flower That Blooms In The Fall Rainforest Plants – Castor Bean

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Rainforest Plants – Castor Bean

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Genus: Ricinus

Species: Communis

Common Names: Castor Bean, Christ’s Palm, Mole Bush

General Description: The bean is native to the tropics of Africa and Asia, but is cultivated worldwide as a garden and landscape plant. This shrub (or small tree) is large and evergreen, growing in zones 10 and 11. In cooler regions, castor bean is grown as an annual. It is considered an ornamental and can be planted indoors as well as outdoors. It is a herb, but becomes woody when mature.

Uses: The bean is a member of the Euphorbia (Spurge) family. Like most Euphorbias, the sap is highly caustic and is considered poisonous. Pollen is an allergen. However, properly processed, this plant has many valuable uses. Castor oil is obtained from these beans; It is widely used in medicine and the industrial world in various applications (varnishes, paints, polyurethane coatings, plastics, transportation, cosmetics, textiles, leather, lubricants and lamp oils) as well as in numerous other industrial and manufacturing processes. Castor Oil Pomace is a substance that results from crushing the bean; Pomace is used as a high nitrogen fertilizer. In medicine, castor oil is cathartic and has been used for many years to induce labor.

Castor bean leaves are large and star-shaped—a very attractive plant. It is called ‘mole bush’ because of its natural ability to remove moles. The castor bean is widely grown in the southern United States, where it was introduced and naturalized decades ago. The Board of Directors of the Nursery Growers Association of Florida voted to no longer promote, sell or use the castor bean in Florida. It is one of the 34 species on which such action was taken in 2001. Because castor bean flowers year-round, it is difficult to control and has become invasive in fields and roadsides in poor areas below 1000 feet.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

No reference to medicinal use is intended to treat, cure, alleviate or prevent any disease.

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