Castor oil plant
- Native to Asia and Africa, Castor oil plant is now commonly found along roadsides and on disturbed or cleared land. Prefers creeks and river banks, especially where sand and silt has been deposited by floods.
- Highly toxic
- Branching perennial shrub, 3-4 m with a spread of 2 m.
- Stems are hollow, dull pale-green or tinged with red.
- Palmate leaves up to 30cm wide, glossy dark reddish-green when young, glossy green when mature, divided into 7-9 roughly triangular segments each with a prominent central vein spreading out from the end of the leaf stalk, finely-toothed margins. Emit unpleasant odour when crushed.
- Small red-green flowers in spikes on the upper stems.
- Fruit are capsules, 1.5-2.5 cm long, with soft, green or red spines, divided into 3 sections with one mottled, smooth seed per section. When ripe the fruits explode and can spread the seed several meters.