Saturday, August 13, 2011
Weed du Jour
Castor Bean (also called the Castor Oil Plant). A fairly common escapee from cultivation here in Southern and Central California. I remember them in our back yard in my very first childhood home. The Castor Bean provides Castor Oil, used for a variety of purposes, both medicinal and chemical, and is also the source of one of the natural worlds most toxic substances, ricin. I remember breaking the spiny seed pods open to extract the mottled seeds, that look a bit like pinto beans, but more like engorged ticks. Sometimes I think it's a miracle any of us survived childhood.