L., Sp. Pl. 1007 (1753).
Synonymy: Not Applicable
Common name: Castor oil plant.
Annual herb or tall branching shrub to 4 m high, glabrous; leaves large, orbicular, up to 60 cm, on petioles 10-30 cm long, palmately divided into 7-9 lobes, lobes lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, irregularly dentate; monoecious.
Flowers in erect loose panicles on thick peduncles to 20 cm long (in S.Aust.); male flowers on pedicels to 10 mm long, several, calyx segments ovate-lanceolate, c. 5 mm long; stamens numerous, to 1000, filaments filiform, anthers 2-celled, globular, c. 0.5 mm long, dehiscing longitudinally, yellow, after anthesis the whole male flower caducous; female flowers with a cleft spathe-like calyx at anthesis, on a filiform pedicel to 5 mm long in fruit extending to 30-50 mm; calyx segments ovate-lanceolate, c. 5 mm long, free, persistent; ovary red, styles 3, usually 2-cleft; ovary and fruit covered with soft spine-like structures.
Capsule ovoid, 8-20 x 10-20 mm, with long conical projections or smooth; seed sub-globular, 9-17 mm, flattened, smooth, shiny, reddish-brown to blackish, marked in various shades of white, grey or brown.
||Ricinus communis twig, male and female flowers, fruit and seed.
Image source: fig 410 in Jessop J.P. & Toelken H.R. (Ed.) 1986. Flora of South Australia (4th edn).|
Hegi (1924) Illustrierte Flora von Mittel-Europa 5, 1:fig. 1744; Jessop (1981) Flora of central Australia, fig. 212.
Found commonly in disturbed sites, old fields, along roadsides and channels.
S.Aust.: NW, LE, FR, EA, EP, NL, MU, YP, SL, KI, SE. All States (?Tas.).
Flowering time: in summer (S.Aust.), throughout the year in the tropics.
SA Distribution Map based
on current data relating to
specimens held in the
State Herbarium of South Australia
Large plants may be tree-like in appearance; the seeds are attractively coloured but are poisonous.
Not yet available