Ricinis Communis aka Gibsonii Castor Bean Plant

Ricinis Communis (Castor Bean Plant) is one of the fastest growing tropical plants in the world, easily reaching 5′ the first year when started from seed.  When I discovered this African native was a natural mole repellant, I decided to order a few seed packets: on Memorial Day I got busy direct-sowing, and by June 3 they’d not only germinated but sprouted their first true leaves:

Castor Bean Seedlings, June 3, 2013Castor Bean Gibsonii quickly becomes a tall, dramatic plant with red stems, as seen in this picture, taken a few hours ago:

Castor Bean Plant, 7/23/13

The palmate foliage can grow quite huge (12-30″ wide) with 5-11 deeply incised lobes.

Castor Bean Foliage, 7/23/13

The leaves of the Gibsonii variety change from red to brownish-green as they age.

Castor Bean Leaves are red when immature  7/23/13

In a month or so, stunning scarlet seed heads will appear, allowing these plants to create a self-sowing colony, with new seedlings popping up year round!

Sayonara City! 😉 Moles-be-gone!! 🙂

A word of caution: R. Communis is highly poisonous to people as well as moles! Every inch of the plant is highly toxic if injested, so use with caution around young kids!

Until next time……

🙂 🙂 🙂


15 thoughts on “Ricinis Communis aka Gibsonii Castor Bean Plant

  1. That plant sounds like something that grew when dinosaurs were around. It looks amazing, but aren’t you worried about it taking over your garden? Or maybe it’s the lesser evil after the moles?

    • So many of these semi-invasive plants are a problem here. I’m hypervigilant about yanking the passifloras out as they materialize throughout the lawn so I guess i’ll be adding these to my “weeding” cycle too! (good exercise! LOL!)

    • Thank you so much for leaving a comment! So far it seems these plants are growing as expected and the moles haven’t been making a mess under that garden area. I’m looking forward to the flower phase!

  2. That’s a very striking plant! I can think of some cats and dogs I’ve known, though, who had a tendency to munch on plants, and this would not have been a good one to sample!

    • definitely something to worry about for those with inquisitive animals or kids. Clarisse (my 15yr old cat) isn’t one to eat foliage, but if she was? I’d have skipped it for sure.

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