US National Arboretum


Arboretum Plant Photo Gallery
Answer to the Front Page
Do You Know What Plant This Is?
for June 28 - July 6, 2010

Ricinus communis
This is castor bean (Ricinis communis).

Castor bean is a perennial shrub grown as an annual that grows best in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate areas. It is native to eastern tropical Africa. The wild form of the plant may reach 9' in a season, whereas some cultivated varieties are smaller. Castor bean, especially cultivated varieties, can be grown as an ornamental, but great care should be taken since the seeds are extremely poisonous. Castor oil, derived from the castor bean, used to be a common household medicine. Currently, the oil has an industrial history as an ingredient in hundreds of products, from varnishes to brake fluids. It holds up well in both hot and cold temperatures, which makes it a standout among plant derived biodiesels. You can see castor bean in the Power Plants exhibit next to the Herb Garden.

Be sure to go to the "What is This Plant?" Archive
or see the links below to view other plant images in our various Photo Galleries.

Go to:
Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) Photo Gallery
Award Winning Daylilies Photo Gallery
U.S. National Arboretum Crapemyrtle Introductions Photo Gallery
Glenn Dale Azaleas Photo Gallery
Fall Foliage Photo Gallery
Photo Gallery Introduction

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Last Updated   August 12, 2010 11:03 AM

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