I saw this very unusual flower in my friends yard. He has no idea what it is and I've never seen anything like it. It was one of those "I have to have one" sights. He gave me some seeds but I would like to know what it is. Help anyone? I can only list a few characteristics I remember from seeing it growing last year. Here it goes:
1) Tree like plant that was about 6 feet tall
2) It had 1 flower on it (as it appeared), growing in the middle, about 4' to 5' from the ground.
3) The flower was a bright red, about 3" around and about 10" tall. It "appeared" to be solid, with many long thorns that looked dangerous but were soft.
4) When I was given the seeds, I was shocked at what I had and asked where these came from on the plant. He said it was the flower, which was derived from many pods growing tightly together, appearing to be one. The dried seeds are in individual, brown, prickly pods, about 1" in diameter.
5) I can't remember the leaves but the trunk was about 1-1/2" at the base.
6) The plant was about 3' in diameter and the leaves started about 3' from the ground, appearing as a little tree.
7) I asked him if he ever let them try to grow again the following year and he said he pulls them out every year because he was told they wouldn't but he never tried. He just re-plants a seed every year.
Growing in Pennsylvania, USA
Thanks in advance to anyone helping with this identification... Steve
This is a Castor plant (Ricinus communis).It is a native of Ethopian region of tropical East Africa but now it has become a weed of Southwestern United States.It belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae which is an economically important family of flowering plants. It is a plant which is generally grown for seeds, which are widely used for preparing oils. This oil is used in various purposes like as a lubricants,in the manufacture of soaps,various medicinal uses etc.
I just saw the post or I would have spoken earlier, the caster is easy to grow and a beautiful plant Theres many in my gardens, but the seeds coat you need to pay caution to..The seeds yield an oil that is used commercially. The coats of the seeds contain ricin, a deadly poison.
I would suggest you get rid of it. Castor bean is considered the most deadly of all natural poisons, ricin was extracted from castor beans for chemical warfare in World War I. Its potency proved it too risky for both sides and has remained in the arsenal, but rarely used except by terrorists. You might want to visit here flowering plants for more info about plants. Thanks.
Last edited by JackBean on Mon Jun 11, 2012 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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