Monday, April 25, 2016

Ricinus communis (Castor Bean) - Non-Native

5/22/99 Eaton Canyon Natural Area, San Gabriel Mountains,
Los Angeles County, CA 

5/19/01 Gabrielino Trail, Lower Arroyo Seco (JPL to Oakwilde),
San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, CA


COMMON NAME: Castor Bean

SPECIES: Ricinus communis

FAMILY: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)


LOCATION: Eaton Canyon Natural Area, San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County, CA


Treatment from The Jepson Manual (1993):

Shrub, sometimes tree-like, 1–3 m, monoecious, ± glabrous; sap clear

Stem: trunk ascending to erect, branched above

Leaves simple, cauline, alternate, peltate; stipules fused, 1–1.5 cm, sheath-like, deciduous; petiole 1–3 dm, glandular distally; blade 1–5 dm, ± round, palmately 7–11-lobed, sharply toothed

Inflorescence: panicle, terminal, 1–3 dm; staminate flowers below pistillate flowers

Staminate flower: sepals 3–5; petals 0; stamens many, clustered; nectary 0

Pistillate flower: sepals 3–5; petals 0; ovary 3-chambered, bristly, styles 2-lobed, plumose, reddish

Fruit 1.2–2 cm diam, ± spiny

Seed 9–22 mm, smooth, shiny, mottled; scar appendages

Ecology: Disturbed areas, fields, roadsides

Elevation: < 300 m.  

Bioregional distribution: Great Central Valley, Central Coast, South Coast, expected elsewhere 

Distribution outside California: e US; native to Europe

Highly TOXIC: seeds attractive to children, fatal when ingested.

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