Ricinus March 2010-1.jpg
Leaves and flowers (male flowers on top) of a castor oil plant
Scientific classification edit
Species:R. communis
Binomial name
Ricinus communis
Green variant of Ricinus communis, post-bloom, with developing seed capsules

Ricinus communis, the castor bean[1] or castor oil plant,[2] is a species of perennial flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is the sole species in the monotypic genus, Ricinus, and subtribe, Ricininae. The evolution of castor and its relation to other species are currently being studied using modern genetic tools.[3] It reproduces with a mixed pollination system which favors selfing by geitonogamy but at the same time can be an out-crosser by anemophily (wind pollination) or entomophily (insect pollination).[4]

Its seed is the castor bean, which, despite its name, is not a true bean. Castor is indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean Basin, Eastern Africa, and India, but is widespread throughout tropical regions (and widely grown elsewhere as an ornamental plant).[5]

Castor seed is the source of castor oil, which has a wide variety of uses. The seeds contain between 40% and 60% oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. The seed also contains ricin, a water-soluble toxin, which is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant.

An unrelated plant species, Fatsia japonica (false castor oil plant), is similar in appearance but is from Japan.


Ricinus communis can vary greatly in its growth habit and appearance. The variability has been increased by breeders who have selected a range of cultivars for leaf and flower colours, and for oil production. It is a fast-growing, suckering shrub that can reach the size of a small tree, around 12 m (39 ft), but it is not cold hardy.

The glossy leaves are 15–45 cm (5.9–17.7 in) long, long-stalked, alternate and palmate with five to twelve deep lobes with coarsely toothed segments. In some varieties they start off dark reddish purple or bronze when young, gradually changing to a dark green, sometimes with a reddish tinge, as they mature. The leaves of some other varieties are green practically from the start, whereas in yet others a pigment masks the green color of all the chlorophyll-bearing parts, leaves, stems and young fruit, so that they remain a dramatic purple-to-reddish-brown throughout the life of the plant. Plants with the dark leaves can be found growing next to those with green leaves, so there is most likely only a single gene controlling the production of the pigment in some varieties.[6] The stems and the spherical, spiny seed capsules also vary in pigmentation. The fruit capsules of some varieties are more showy than the flowers.

The green capsule dries and splits into three sections, forcibly ejecting seeds

The flowers are borne in terminal panicle-like inflorescences of green or, in some varieties, shades of red, monoecious flowers without petals. The male flowers are numerous, yellowish-green with prominent creamy stamens; the female flowers, borne at the tips of the spikes, lie within the immature spiny capsules, are relatively few in number and have prominent red stigmas.[7]

The fruit is a spiny, greenish (to reddish-purple) capsule containing large, oval, shiny, bean-like, highly poisonous seeds with variable brownish mottling. Castor seeds have a warty appendage called the caruncle, which is a type of elaiosome. The caruncle promotes the dispersal of the seed by ants (myrmecochory).

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kasterolieboom
አማርኛ: ጉሎ
العربية: خروع
asturianu: Ricinus communis
Avañe'ẽ: Mba'ysyvo vai
azərbaycanca: Gənəgərçək
تۆرکجه: گنه گرچک
বাংলা: ভেন্না
беларуская: Клешчавіна
български: Рицин
català: Ricí
čeština: Skočec obecný
Cymraeg: Trogenllys
dansk: Ricinus
Deutsch: Wunderbaum
eesti: Riitsinus
Ελληνικά: Ρίκινος
euskara: Akain-belar
français: Ricin commun
galego: Rícino
ગુજરાતી: દિવેલી
한국어: 피마자
Hausa: Zirman
հայերեն: Տզկանեփ
हिन्दी: अरंडी
hornjoserbsce: Wšědny ricinus
Bahasa Indonesia: Jarak (tumbuhan)
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಔಡಲ
Kapampangan: Tangan-tangan
ქართული: აბუსალათინი
қазақша: Үпілмәлік
Kreyòl ayisyen: Maskreti
kurdî: Kerçik
latviešu: Rīcinaugs
magyar: Ricinus
മലയാളം: ആവണക്ക്
मराठी: एरंड
Bahasa Melayu: Pokok Jarak
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ကြက်ဆူပင်
Nederlands: Wonderboom
नेपाली: अँडिर
नेपाल भाषा: अलःमा
日本語: トウゴマ
norsk: Ricinus
norsk nynorsk: Kristpalme
occitan: Ricin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kanakunjut
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਅਰਿੰਡ
پنجابی: ارنڈ
پښتو: ارهنډه
português: Mamona
română: Ricin
русский: Клещевина
संस्कृतम्: एरण्डसस्यम्
Simple English: Castor oil plant
سنڌي: ھيرڻ
српски / srpski: Ricinus
Basa Sunda: Jarak
svenska: Ricin (växt)
Tagalog: Lansina
தமிழ்: ஆமணக்கு
తెలుగు: ఆముదము
lea faka-Tonga: Lepo
українська: Рицина
Tiếng Việt: Thầu dầu
Xitsonga: Nhlampfurha
中文: 蓖麻