Sunday, October 10, 2010

Castor Beans

I grew up with castor bean plants -- my mom planted them in our garden for many years. Sure they're poisonous, but they're also amazing, beautiful, useful plants. I remember how tall they would grow. As a kid I thought they were majestic, tropical and a little scary.


seeds on my 2010 plant

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.
The toxicity of raw castor beans is due to the presence of ricin. The lethal dose in adults is about 4 to 8 seeds, but reports of actual poisoning are rare. "According to the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, this plant is the most poisonous in the world."

I waited until too late in the spring to plant mine,
so it didn't grow very tall.

baby castor bean

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