Castor bean

Ricinus communis -- Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants

Ricinus communis

Non-Native to Florida
Origin: Africa 1

TOXIC TO LIVESTOCK - See Poisonous Pasture Plants of Florida (UF-IFAS Bookstore Pub SP 457) by B.A. Sellers and J.A. Ferrell. 2010.

This species appears on the following legally prohibited plant lists

CATEGORY II on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council's (FLEPPC) 2013 List of Invasive Plant Species

UF-IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas




Download a recognition card (PDF) from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know 2

Download a page (PDF) from Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition 1

Control information: Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida (EDIS publication SP 242) 3

Castor bean is a hardy plant that grows into small trees in disturbed sites from the peninsula to the central and western panhandle (Wunderlin, 2003). It is reported in 24 states from California to Michigan to New Hampshire and throughout the southeastern U.S. (Kartesz 1999). It is native to Africa and blooms from summer to fall.

 

Appearance

Many-branched; annual or perennial shrub, tree or herb, 1–5 m (3.3–16.5 ft) tall.

Leaves

Alternate, simple, coarse, to 40 cm (15.5 in) wide; 7–9 coarsely serrate palmate lobes, with long petiole attached near center of lower leaf surface.

Flowers

Conspicuous, upright spikes; sepals 5, petals 0; male flowers yellow; female flowers pink to pinkish red; appearing nearly year-round.

Fruit

A red, green, or bluish spiny capsule, 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) in diameter, with white to tan. Very poisonous seeds.

Ecological threat

FLEPPC Category II – Invasive exotics that have increased in abundance or frequency but have not yet altered Florida plant communities to the extent shown by Category I species.

Distribution

NW, NE, C, SW, SE

Text from Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know - Recognition Cards 2

*Also known as: Ruellia coerulea

 


 

More Resources

View the herbarium specimen image from the University of Florida Herbarium Digital Imaging Projects.

Ricinus communis, Castor Bean by Melissa H. Friedman, Michael G. Andreu, Heather V. Quintana, and Mary McKenzie FOR 244/FR 306 (2010)

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Citations

1. Identification and Biology of Nonnative Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas – Second Edition, by K.A. Langeland, H.M. Cherry, et al. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 257. 2008.

2. Invasive and Non-native Plants You Should Know - Recognition Cards, by A. Richard and V. Ramey. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 431. 2007.

3. Integrated Management of Nonnative Plants in Natural Areas of Florida, by K. A. Langeland, J. A. Ferrell, B. Sellers, G. E. MacDonald, and R. K. Stocker. University of Florida-IFAS Publication # SP 242. 2011.

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