Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis)

A blue-green fleshy shrub to 3m tall. A common weed in coastal areas and often found growing along creek banks and in disturbed, neglected areas.
The flowers, which are about 1cm in diameter, occur on stout erect spikes.
The leaves are large, 10–60cm across, and divided into seven to ten lobes. The leaf stalks are centrally attached, long and hollow, and have a whitish bloom. The leaves have a nauseating odour when crushed.

Toxicity category: 1, 3, 4
Category 1 - Extremely toxicCategory 3 - IrritantCategory 4 - cause respiratory problems
Warning: Seek urgent medical attention if seeds are ingested.

Common name: Castor oil plant

Botanical name: Ricinus communis

Other common names: Castor bean, palma christi

Family: Euphorbiaceae

General description: A blue-green fleshy shrub to 3m tall. A common weed in coastal areas and often found growing along creek banks and in disturbed, neglected areas.

Flowers: The flowers, which are about 1cm in diameter, occur on stout erect spikes.

Leaves: The leaves are large, 10–60cm across, and divided into seven to ten lobes. The leaf stalks are centrally attached, long and hollow, and have a whitish bloom. The leaves have a nauseating odour when crushed.

Fruit/Berries: The fruit are soft and spiny, slightly three-lobed and 1.5–2.5cm across. Each lobe contains one shiny mottled grey seed.

Other: The sap is clear.

Symptoms: Ingestion of seeds may cause a burning sensation in the mouth or throat, severe gastro-intestinal irritation with vomiting, diarrhoea and bleeding. Symptoms may be delayed hours to days after ingestion. Liver damage and life threatening poisoning can occur. Respiratory and eye irritation may result from close proximity to the plant, particularly when blooming.

Toxicity category: 1, 3, 4
Category 1 - Extremely toxicCategory 3 - IrritantCategory 4 - cause respiratory problems
Warning: Seek urgent medical attention if seeds are ingested.

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