The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
August 2007

Ricinus commuis
San Diego, CA, near border with Tijuana
Sep 1981


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Jan 2013)

*Ricinus communis Linnaeus 1753. Castor bean.  Tall shrub, or mostly herbaceous; stems erect, sparingly branched, with large alternate leaves digitately and deeply divided into 511 marginally toothed leaflets on long red leaf stalks (petioles); flowers in branched clusters along a terminal axis, males below female flowers or surrounding a central female flower, the 3-parted styles most conspicuous by the reddish plumes. Seeds contain ricin, an extremely poisonous compound, especially if seeds are chewed.   Native to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India. Reported by Twisselmann as spontaneous in the valley and well established as a stream bank plant in lower Kern Canyon.