Coefficient of Conservatism:
Coefficient of Wetness:
B. S. Walters
A plant of tropical (probably African) origin, widely cultivated as an ornamental for its impressive leaves and large size, and locally (and surely transiently) escaped; first collected in 1924 in Macomb Co. It is glabrous, spineless, and unlikely to be confused with any other species with large palmate leaves. Though woody in the tropics, our plants grow as annuals.
The seed coats contain ricin, one of the most poisonous substances known. The large seeds yield an oil (castor oil) useful medicinally, as a lubricant, and in many industrial applications.