22 October 2012

Castor Beans - harvest the seeds this fall for next summer

At Gurney Seeds, regular green leaf castor bean seeds, Zanzibariensis, are
10 for $4.00 plus shipping - 40-cents each.
At Johnny's Seeds the green leafed variety is 50 seeds for $25.
 
The Carmencita Bright Red seeds are aslo 50 seeds for $25.00.
Dust Bowl Seed www.dustbowlseed.com sells them
$2.49 for 20 seeds.
 
These gorgeous tropical looking plants originated in East Africa, probably Ethopia but
they were also found in Egyptian tombs dating from 4,000 B.C.

Lots of information about these unique plants are at
 Wayne's Word. palomar . edu which is an online natural history textbook.

 
The oil was part of my growing up years - my mother and grandmother tried to
disguise the horrible taste of castor oil with sugar but it really never took with me.
Better the oil should be used for its ancient use - as lamp oil.

Castor Bean - male stamen clusters - white flowers
 
Castor beans are monoecious, each plant has male and female parts.
  The female flower is the little spiny ovary that becomes the fruit or seed capsule. The bright red bits with feathery branches are the stigma lobes that receive pollen from male flowers. The male flowers are a cluster of many stamens.
 

Castor Bean ovary

The seed pods drop their feathery red coating as
they dry. Watch for them to become brown and ready to

pop open so you can collect enough seeds for next year's mole prevention.

Castor Bean - seed capsules

1 comment:

Dust Bowl Seed said...

What a great article and very informative.

Castor beans are great plants for the landscape. Very heat and drought tolerant, very low maintenance, and deer and insects will not bother them.
Plus, I love the tropical flare the Castor bean plants give my landscape.
I’m always surprised by the comments I receive from friends and neighbors.

Actually, if you click on the flower seed category at www.dustbowlseed.com it states –
All seeds are sold 20 seeds per pack.
Unless noted otherwise in the description.

Again, Thanks for such a great article.