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TDA Noxious Weed
TPWD Prohibited Exotic Species
Invasive Plant Atlas of the US

Ricinus communis


Castor Bean

Synonym(s):
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)
Duration and Habit: Annual, Perennial Shrub


Photographer: John D. Byrd
Source: Mississippi State University, Bugwood.org

Description

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.

History:

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.

Distribution

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.

Mapping

Invaders of Texas Map: Ricinus communis
EDDMapS: Ricinus communis
USDA Plants Texas County Map: Ricinus communis

Invaders of Texas Observations

List All Observations of Ricinus communis reported by Citizen Scientists

Resembles/Alternatives

Common paw paw (Asimina triloba), Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria), Carolina buckthorn (Rhamnus caroliniana)

Management

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.

Text References

The Quiet Invasion: A Guide to Invasive Plants of the Galveston Bay Area. Lisa Gonzalez and Jeff DallaRosa. Houston Advanced Research Center, 2006.

Online Resources

Search Online

Google Search: Ricinus communis
Google Images: Ricinus communis
NatureServe Explorer: Ricinus communis
USDA Plants: Ricinus communis
Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States: Ricinus communis
Bugwood Network Images: Ricinus communis

Last Updated: 2007-11-08 by Lisa Gonzalez
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