Colorful Castor bean

I had a nice surprise a couple of weeks ago.

But let me go back a bit further. I had planted a Castor bean plant in a big pot last summer, and loved the way the leaves looked. When it flowered, it looked like this.

Kind of cool.  I’m pretty sure I did a blog post on it.

This spring, I bought another Castor bean plant for the same pot.  I didn’t pay too much attention to the type, as I didn’t remember the kind I got last year and it really didn’t matter to me–I was just looking for those big, dramatic leaves.

When this year’s Castor bean flowered, it looked like this.

So bright and kind of funky looking–I just love them! Unfortunately, I had to cut them off, because I wanted the leaves to continue to grow and not for the plant to concentrate on going to seed. But when I noticed the flower I also noticed, really for the first time, how red the leaves and stems are.  (Which probably explains the different color of bloom.) In looking at last year’s photo, the leaves are obviously just plain green.

Surprises in the garden are always fun. (Well, almost always!) :)


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6 Responses to Colorful Castor bean

  1. Katrina says:

    I suppose you know this:
    All parts of the plants are toxic, but most dangerous are the seeds. The most susceptible animal species include cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, fowl, rabbits and other small animals. Seeds ingested at 0.2% of body weight have caused toxicosis in cattle and 0.01% of body weight was toxic to horses.

    • Sandi says:

      Actually, I did know that, but I probably should have mentioned it–so, thanks for commenting! It never hurts to let people know, probably, that there is an issue there.

      Since I have no animals I don’t really worry about things like that, but glad you caught it. :)

  2. Jeannie says:

    Sandi, your flippant attitude to Katrina, reflects your lack of knowledge about this poisonous plant- other animals/birds that may come into your yard and ingest the plant and seeds. It is also a source of RICIN which is poisonous to humans. I used to plant it because of its uniqueness and then stopped when I found out how dangerous it is. Step out of your self induced importance and consider who and what may come into your yard. you could try to edit your article for future readers and include how poisonous it is and to what or whom, or write another article on how poisonous it is or an entire article on common garden/lawn plants that are poisonous.

    • Sandi says:

      I was not being flippant at all. My blog post was simply about the interesting fact of the bloom/seed pod color. It’s unfortunate that you seemed to take it so personally. I will continue to use it in my pots as long as I am pleased by its qualities and I can still purchase it in garden centers.

    • Geneva says:

      I suppose natural selection applies here. If an animal is stupid enough to eat poison, then we probably don’t want its genes spread anyway 😉

  3. Ginny says:

    Thanks for the interesting post–I have never seen this plant before. I appreciate your continuing interest in plants of all kinds and your willingness to share your gardening adventures. I would caution one of your comment-makers to be a bit cautious before throwing a landscaping rock in a glass greenhouse, however. A huge number of garden plants require minding who is nibbling in the garden; *most* of my garden is toxic to someone: hydrangeas, lilies of the valley, irises, morning glories (I would list my poppy, but I seem to have killed it this year)…. And there are dozens of plants I grew up with that might be harmful: rhododendrons, ficus, fig, narcissus, Calla lilies, daffodils, etc., etc. There are hundreds of other plants that are poisonous that I would grow if I had the talent (I won’t bore you with the long list). If Jeannie is so particular, perhaps she would be happy to rip all of these and more out of her garden–for the safety of the neighborhood. She could go for a xeriscape of some sort…just don’t plant aloe or a bunny ears cactus–they are poisonous, too! Given that most of the neighborhood animals think of my yard as a nature preserve, I think they know not to eat my lilies of the valley or irises. Animals are pretty smart like that.
    Thanks for posting all the pics, Sandi–I enjoy them all :)

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