Ricinus communis L.

Castor Bean

Hills and Dales GA

Hills and Dales GA


Family: Euphorbiaceae

Genus: Ricinus

Category: Perennial

Zones: (7)8 to 11 (usually reseeding in zone 8)

Size: 8' + tall, 3' wide, much larger in frost free zones.

Growth Rate: Fast

Exposure: Sun


Extremely fast growing and reseeds easily. Tropical look. Large palmate red-purple or green leaves. Seeds are poisonous.


'Carmencita' - bronze-red leaves, red flowers

'Impala' - dwarf (5' tall), red leaves

'Sanguineus' - red stems and leaves

'Gibsonii' - dwarf (4' tall), red-purple leaves and stems, leaves turning bronze with age

'New Zealand Purple' - smaller deep purple leaf, little branching so plant in groups of 3

'Zanzibarensis' - green leaves with white veins

'Zanzi Palm' - green leaves, very tall, thick trunk


Published in Sp. Pl. 2: 1007 in 1753. Probably originated in Africa but naturalized worldwide in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Declared a noxious weed seed in Texas.

'Communis' = growing in company or common.

My Experience: 

I was given a seedling in May 2011 and planted it near the conservatory - the deer ate it! I was given another seedling in May 2012 - cultivar 'Carmencita'. It survived but did not do much.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner