Castor-oil plant

Castor-oil plant

Ricinus communis

Common Name:

Castor-oil plant

Scientific Name:

Ricinus communis


Alternative common names:

Castorbean, wonder tree (English); kasterolieboom, bloubottelboom, bosluisboom (Afrikaans); mohlafotha (Sesotho); mokhura (Pedi); mufuta (Shona); umfude (Ndebele); umhlakuva (isiZulu); umhlakuva (isiXhosa) 

Description:

This plant is an annual shrub or small tree with a softly woody stem growing up to 4m high with leaf and flowering stalks often with a grey bloom. The shiny, dark green or reddish leaves are paler below and star-shaped with serrated margins. Upper flowers are reddish and lower flowers cream. Green, brown or reddish, three-lobed capsules covered with soft spines. The whole plant is poisonous.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Tropical Africa.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

CARA 2002 - Category 2 NEMBA 2020 - Category 2

Where does this species come from?

Tropical Africa.

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

All provinces in South Africa

How does it spread?

Seed dispersal

Why is it a problem?

Competes with indigenous pioneering species especially in watercourses. Extremely poisonous.

What does it look like?

General description: A very distinctive plant with green, spreading star-shaped leaves and tall, spiky fruit capsules.
Leaves: Shiny, star-shaped dark green or reddish leaves that are paler below with serrated margins.
Flowers: Upper flowers are reddish and lower flowers cream.
Fruit/seeds: Green, brown or reddish, three-lobed capsules covered with soft spines protruding from the top of the plant.

Does the plant have any uses?

Ornament, castor-oil

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