Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Preview: Castor Bean Tree

Here's a quick preview of things to come from Fernymoss' fabulous work this past weekend. This time it's a green Castor Bean tree (well two of them actually), and you'll be seeing more of these as the summer progresses since we have two varieties planted (these are in the back yard and the others are in the front bed). If you've heard of Castor Bean oil (a dreaded laxative when I was a child), these are the trees that produce them. They're really quite a dramatic, architectural plant to showcase in the garden, even though we have a neighbor who's quite terrified of them (more on that later), but most people seem to appreciate the drama they bring to wherever they're planted. Besides we just love them! To be able to grow a plant that can easily reach 8-12 feet during one season in Iowa is testimony to this plant's tenacity!

I'll have more details when I do the next few posts, but for now I'll leave you with a link to some more great pictures of Ricinus communis available for planting ... if for no other reason than to prove that we're not the only weirdos who find this plant a fascinating addition to the garden!


FARfetched said...

I'm sure your neighbor has an interesting story to tell... can't wait to hear it.

Family Man said...

I'm with FAR. I'd like to hear the neighbor's story.

olivia said...

LOL on the neighbour ... :)

Nancy P said...

Your audience is stomping its (our) feet! Storreeey! Storrreey!

Anonymous said...

I guess the neibor is concerned because of the poisonous risen (-1 for spelling)the plant produces. It may be poisonous to many pets as well, as I've read that animals that eat it die.

Anonymous said...

Many people are allergic to flower pods and sap. Moles are horrified of them too. The seeds are good rodent control. Ricin is in the seed endocarp but not in the seed oil. It takes two seeds to to kill a person, not much more to kill a cow or horse, but ducks can eat over 30. I'm going to test alligators next.

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Anonymous said...

I grew up with this castor tree & reminds me of Jack & the bean stalk.This tree can reach 40ft & 15ft wide.It is fast growing & used for shade.You need a factory to extract the poison ricin.The seed pods are thorny.The oil has great medicinal uses w/o the poison.4-6 seeds will cause grave illness to death in an adult depending on weight,etc.

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