Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
Duration and Habit: Annual, Perennial Shrub
Stems are purplish and highly branched. Leaves are alternate, sometimes reddish, palmate with 6 - 11 lobes, and toothed. They are large, ranging 4 - 22 inches in breadth. Flowers occur in ball-like clusters on a stalk. The top portion of the flower consists of showy red stigmas (female flowers), while the bottom portion has yellow anthers (male flowers). Female flowers have reddish-brown oblong capsules, are 1 inch long, each containing 3 seeds. Seeds are oblong, varying in size. In frost-free areas, castorbean exists as an evergreen. Once established, it is a fast growing plant. Can exceed 9 feet in height.
Ecological Threat: Stands of castorbean displace native vegetation. While cultivated for its oil, castorbean is noted to exhaust soil; it does not act as a nitrogen fixer. Besides its toxicity, it is noted to cause allergic asthma.
Biology & Spread: Readily reproduces by seed which remain viable for 2 to 3 years and germinate in early spring. Becomes reproductive in the first 6 months, and flowers from the summer into the fall.
U.S. Habitat: Favors high temperatures in full sun. Prefers fertile, well drained, but moist soils. Commonly found in riparian areas, the margins of cultivated fields, waste areas, or building sites.
U.S. Nativity: Introduced to U.S.
Native Origin: Africa
U.S. Present: AZ, CA, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IL, LA, MA, MI, MO, MS, NC, NH, OH, PA, TN, TX, VA
Distribution: Found in California, Arizona, and Utah in the West; much of the East from Michigan and New England south to Florida and west to Texas and Kansas.
List All Observations of Ricinus communis reported by Citizen Scientists
Common paw paw (Asimina triloba), Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana)
A 2 percent foliar application of Glyphosate is effective against established plants. Seedlings should be pulled, taking care to remove the root system. Never use fire as a control method, as it will most likely encourage further invasion.USE PESTICIDES WISELY: ALWAYS READ THE ENTIRE PESTICIDE LABEL CAREFULLY, FOLLOW ALL MIXING AND APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS AND WEAR ALL RECOMMENDED PERSONAL PROTECTIVE GEAR AND CLOTHING. CONTACT YOUR STATE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL PESTICIDE USE REQUIREMENTS, RESTRICTIONS OR RECOMMENDATIONS. MENTION OF PESTICIDE PRODUCTS ON THIS WEB SITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF ANY MATERIAL.
The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area. Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.
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