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Uses

Toxic parts

The whole plant is very poisonous[1][2][3], even one seed has been known to be lethal to children[4][5][6]. The seedcoat contains an extremely lethal poison that was once used by the KGB to dispose of their enemies[7]. The leaves are only mildly poisonous[5]. The toxic principle is water-soluble so is not found in the oil[5].

Edible uses

Notes

The seed contains 35 - 55% of an edible oil, used in cooking[8][9]. The seed is a rich source of phosphorus, 90% of which is in the phytic form[10]. Some caution should be observed, see the notes above on toxicity

Unknown part

Oil

Material uses

The seed contains 35 - 55% of a drying oil. As well as being used in cooking, it is an ingredient of soaps, polishes, flypapers, paints and varnishes[8][11][12][13][14]. It is also used as a lubricant and for lighting and as an ingredient in fuels for precision engines[12][15][16]. The oil is used in coating fabrics and other protective coverings, in the manufacture of high-grade lubricants, transparent typewriter and printing inks, in textile dyeing (when converted into sulfonated Castor Oil or Turkey-Red Oil, for dyeing cotton fabrics with alizarine) and in the production of 'Rilson', a polyamide nylon-type fibre[17]. The dehydrated oil is an excellent drying agent which compares favorably with tung oil and is used in paints and varnishes[17]. The hydrogenated oil is utilized in the manufacture of waxes, polishes, carbon paper, candles and crayons[17].

A fibre for making ropes is obtained from the stems[12]. The growing plant is said to repel flies and mosquitoes[12][13][18][3][9][19]. When grown in the garden it is said to rid it of moles and nibbling insects[13][3][19]. The leaves have insecticidal properties[9].

Cellulose from the stems is used for making cardboard, paper etc[20][9].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The oil from the seed is a very well-known laxative that has been widely used for over 2,000 years[21]. It is considered to be fast, safe and gentle, prompting a bowel movement in 3 - 5 hours, and is recommended for both the very young and the aged[11][22]. It is so effective that it is regularly used to clear the digestive tract in cases of poisoning[22]. It should not be used in cases of chronic constipation, where it might deal with the symptoms but does not treat the cause[11]. The flavour is somewhat unpleasant, however, and it can cause nausea in some people[11]. The oil has a remarkable antidandruff effect[12]. The oil is well-tolerated by the skin and so is sometimes used as a vehicle for medicinal and cosmetic preparations[22].

Castor oil congeals to a gel-mass when the alcoholic solution is distilled in the presence of sodium salts of higher fatty acids[23]. This gel is useful in the treatment of non-inflammatory skin diseases and is a good protective in cases of occupational eczema and dermatitis[23]. The seed is anthelmintic, cathartic, emollient, laxative, purgative[11][12][24]. It is rubbed on the temple to treat headache[10] and is also powdered and applied to abscesses and various skin infections[10]. The seed is used in Tibetan medicine, where it is considered to have an acrid, bitter and sweet taste with a heating potency[25]. It is used in the treatment of indigestion and as a purgative[25].

A decoction of the leaves and roots is antitussive, discutient and expectorant[10]. The leaves are used as a poultice to relieve headaches and treat boils[23].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse in individual pots. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts[26]. The seeds retain their viability for 2 - 3 years[17].

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Ricinus communis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a well-drained moisture retentive clay or sandy loam in full sun[13][6]. Requires a rich soil and daytime temperatures above 20°c for the seedlings to grow well[7], though the seed may fail to set if temperatures rise above 38°C for an extended period[17]. The plant requires 140 - 180 days of warm temperatures in the growing season in order to produce good crops of seed, and is readily killed by frost[17]. The plant is reported to tolerate an annual precipitation in the range of 20 to 429cm, an annual temperature in the range of 7.0 to 27.8°C and a pH of 4.5 to 8.3[17].

The castor-oil plant is a fast-growing shrub in the wild, reaching up to 12 metres in height, though it is much smaller when cultivated in the temperate zone[27][7]. A very ornamental plant[26], although it is not winter hardy in Britain, it can be grown outdoors as an annual bedding plant for sub-tropical displays, and can flower and produce fruit in its first year in warm summers[26][11]. It has been known to ripen a crop of seeds as far north as Christiana in Norway[11]. Providing the plants water needs are met, yields of around 1 tonne per hectare have been achieved, with exceptional cases of up t 5 tonnes per hectare[17]. It has a long history of cultivation as an oil-bearing and medicinal plant, having been grown in ancient Egypt[28]. It is still widely cultivated for its seed in tropical and sub-tropical zones[26][20]. There are many named varieties, some developed for ornamental use and others for oil production[11][17].

Plants may need support in exposed areas[27].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Ricinus communis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Ricinus communis.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Ricinus communis
Genus
Ricinus
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
9
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? Altmann. H. Poisonous Plants and Animals. Chatto and Windus ISBN 0-7011-2526-8 (1980-00-00)
    2. ? Stary. F. Poisonous Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-35666-3 (1983-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.3 Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
    4. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.15.2 Cooper. M. and Johnson. A. Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man. HMSO ISBN 0112425291 (1984-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.2 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2 Pan Books, London. ISBN 0-330-37376-5 (1998-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.3 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.29.39.49.5 Hill. A. F. Economic Botany. The Maple Press (1952-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.210.310.410.5 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.111.211.311.411.511.611.711.811.9 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.112.212.312.412.512.612.7 Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants. MacDonald ISBN 0-356-10541-5 (1984-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.313.4 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.1 Schery. R. W. Plants for Man. ()
    15. ? 15.015.1 Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.1 Polunin. O. Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide. Oxford University Press ISBN 0192176218 (1969-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.317.417.517.617.717.817.9 Duke. J. Handbook of Energy Crops - (1983-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.2 Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.120.2 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    21. ? 21.021.1 Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America. Houghton Mifflin Co. ISBN 0395467225 (1990-00-00)
    22. ? 22.022.122.222.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    23. ? 23.023.123.223.3 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    24. ? 24.024.1 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    25. ? 25.025.125.2 Tsarong. Tsewang. J. Tibetan Medicinal Plants Tibetan Medical Publications, India ISBN 81-900489-0-2 (1994-00-00)
    26. ? 26.026.126.226.3 F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    27. ? 27.027.1 Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
    28. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)

    "image:1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    Facts about "Ricinus communis"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyEuphorbiaceae +
    Belongs to genusRicinus +
    Has common nameCastor-Oil Plant +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +
    Has edible useOil +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Wind +
    Has flowers of typeMonoecious +
    Has growth rateVigorous +
    Has hardiness zone9 +
    Has image1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useFibre +, Insecticide +, Oil + and Repellent +
    Has mature height1.5 +
    Has mature width1 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAnthelmintic +, Antidandruff +, Antitussive +, Cathartic +, Emollient +, Expectorant +, Laxative +, Purgative + and Skin +
    Has primary image1 Ricinus communis - inflorescence.jpg +
    Has search namericinus communis + and x +
    Has shade toleranceNo shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil teclayture preferenceClay +
    Has soil teheavy clayture preferenceHeavy clay +
    Has soil teloamyture preferenceLoamy +
    Has soil tesandyture preferenceSandy +
    Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomy nameRicinus communis +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is deciduous or evergreenEvergreen +
    Is herbaceous or woodyWoody +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +