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The Ricinus Communis Plant


When I saw my first castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), I immediately liked the looks of it. I had never come across it before we moved to Mallorca; here the plant grows in abundance and seems to prosper happily, often in urban wasteland.

The plant is native to the Mediterranean area; it has a tendency to seed itself. New seedlings can pop up all Summer long. The shrub is one of the fastest growing plants I know; it can grow into the size of a small tree in only 3 to 4 months.

The weed is quite a useful plant too. Not only was it used in early civilizations in rituals of sacrifice to please the gods, its seeds are also used in jewellery for necklaces and bracelets. Castor seed oil is used in lamps; in ethno-medical medicine it has a use as a laxative and purgative, and acts as a cathartic medium. Traditional Ayurvedic medicine considers castor oil the king of medicinals for curing arthritic diseases.

And it looks interesting, too, for its spikey fruits and its large leaves.

The photo was taken in Coll d’en Rabassa, Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: June 10th, 2009. The time was 14:04:48.

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