Ricinus communis 'New Zealand black'
Castor oil plant
The castor oil plant is a tropical sub-shrub with a fascinating history.
Oil extracted from the seeds has been used in multifarious ways including political assassinations (Georgi Markov), as a means of torture and slow death (Franco & Mussolini) and for lubricating F1 racing cars. Castrol anyone? Grown as an annual in the UK, Ricinus is a resilient foliage plant that lasts until November in our garden.
It's quite ravishing, the large dark leaves creating a smouldering, sultry backdrop when planted with Canna, Salvia, Penstemon and other total show-offs.
The seeds have toxic properties so handle with care. Easy to grow.
Photo: Blackstem Plants
Full sun, shelter