Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Landscaping with the Castor Bean Plant

On a recent trip to St. Louis, I noticed this beautiful flower bed at Tower Grove Park. The big plant in the center with the bright green large 20" (50 cm) star shaped leaves is the Castor Bean Plant. The darker large leaves at the base are Elephant Ears.

I was prompted to post this picture after reading one of my favorite blogger's latest post. At True Crime Book Reviews, the blogger has reviewed a book by best selling author Ann Rule called "Bitter Harvest." Without giving too much away, I will just say that the true story took place in Kansas City, and a so-called "brilliant" doctor attempted to poison her husband using Castor beans. This terrible deed is nothing compared to the other crimes she committed! Check out the blog's book review for more information.

It's a bit ironic that this Castor Bean Plant is prominently featured in a city park, and yet just a year ago a Utah man was investigated by Homeland Security for growing this beautiful foliage plant in his front yard! Only in America! I guess we've come a long way from such panic over the last year.

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Beth said...

That is a really beautiful plant. I think in a comment before you had a flower and I said something about the worst a flower smells the prettier it is.

This seems to be true with plants as well, the more dangerous they are the more beautiful they are. That is a really beautiful plant, I want one!

Yvette Kelly said...

I had no idea it was so BIG.I imagined something much smaller.And it's really beautiful too.

John said...

@Beth, Yes I remember that comment and it's true! Sometimes the smelliest flower is so pretty!

You should be able to buy the seeds just like flower seed and it will get huge enough for shade in one season.

I've planted them before and bought my seed in Walgreens, early Spring though.

@Yvette_Kelly, glad you like, and did you know it is a native plant of Africa too. I forget which country, but in the north west part of the continent.

Yvette Kelly said...

and from my side of town too?
about the domain thingy I am going to wait for you to do it and see how it goes with you and then decide....i'm such a coward...

kenju said...

Well, it IS poisonous. I wouldn't grow it anywhere children might be tempted to eat a part of it.

themom said...

Aren't castor beans used to make RICIN?? Egads!!!

John said...

@Yvette_Kelly, well you might see a Castor Bean plant just about anywhere in the world, but it is native to the Ethiopian region of tropical east Africa--not exactly your side of town LOL.

@kenju, that's very wise. I grew them one year on one edge of the property as a backdrop with Cannas in front and Elephant Ears in front of those. I liked the Castor Beans because they grow so fast--up to 20' in one season. But at the time I didn't have any kids around or grandkids.

Yeah, I wouldn't want to take a chance on a child getting sick from accidently nibbling on the plant, especially the beans.

@themom, Yes the castor bean is used to make the deadly ricin. The beans are also used to make the harmless castor oil.

Kenzie Rowan said...

I am very pleased to see your informative blog and the knowledge you have shared of the landscaping process is just amazing, I have book marked your blog and want to make my own web portal for Landscaping Virginia like this blog and want to share on some unique ideas for designing the garden and also want to share some tips to maintain the gardens beauty .

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