Castor oil plant, Castorbean's description
A perennial shrub that normally grows to 3 m tall but in suitable condition it grows as an evergreen tree and may reach up to 12 m height. In shrub form, stem is succulent with sap and in tree form it is woody, soft and light with central pith. Bark is light brown, smooth and exhibits rings at nodes. Leaves are large, 10 to 60 cm across, alternate in arrangement, palm like in shape with five to nine finger like lobes and sharply toothed leaf margin. Leaf stalk is long, attached to the centre of the leaf blade. Flowers are small and without corolla. Male and female flowers are on the same plant, and are produced on a clustered spike inflorescence, which is located at the end of the branches. Male flowers have greenish calyx, which is deeply cut into three to five segments and enclose numerous, much branched, yellow stamens. Male flowers are found in the lower portion of the flower head. Calyx of the female flower is slightly reddish in colour and cut into three segments. Fruit is a round capsule with soft prickles and deeply grooved. Each fruit contains three shiny, ovoid and tick-like seeds of variable colour.