I love castor beans, mostly for the foliage, they stand out in my northern gardens like tropicals. I do wash my hands after handling the seeds, have been planting them for many years. What was in the news?
NPR (National Public Radio) had a segment on arrests in England, where the growers were suspected of producing ricin. I believe you can go to the NPR website to hear a rebroadcast. Lots of people were interviewed (including gardeners).
I grew them last year, and they were spectacular. I saved seeds, but I'm not sure I will replant this year. I can't think of anything as exotic looking - cannas and elephant ears don't get tall enough to have the same impact.
I am DYING for Castor seeds! I was at a historical site last year and want to copy a planting they did (based on some historical docs they found) using Castor plants. Where did you guys find the seeds?
The only thing I know is that the seeds are poisionous and used to make ricin. I just want to plant them because they are stunning. I don't harvest poppy seeds, either! :)
I have to admit my ignorance here... I'll find the sheet I got from the historical Master Gardener and see if the variety is on it. The plants were about 10' high and a dark chocolately red. I have to find out what one of the ringing plants was as well- even she didn't know. I told her that I knew a place (DG) where there would be someone would be able to figure it out. I'll try to find the sheet tonight. :)
New Bee seeds has Castor Beans that might be this, but what exact variety or form I can't say.
Castor Bean Ricinus communis
4'-6' tall, 3' - 4' spacing
grown for red or red & green foliage.
red blooms late Summer to Early Fall
tender perennial as Annual [TP Zone 9a-11] reseeds
full sun, drought tolerant
direct sow after frost or start 3 weeks early in individual pot
Seed does not store well. Sow as soon as possible,
soak 2-3 hours