Castor Bean, Caster Oil Plant, Mole Bean, Higuera Infernal 'Zanzi Palm'

Ricinus communis

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ricinus (RISS-i-nus) (Info)
Species: communis (KOM-yoo-nis) (Info)
Cultivar: Zanzi Palm



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall


Grown for foliage

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 7, 2010, WUVIE from Hulbert, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

This particular castor bean grew beyond our expectations. Typically, the larger the seed, the larger the plant, but in the case of the Zanzi Palm (not to be confused with Zanzibar or Zanzibariensis) the seed to plant size does not ring true.

The seeds of the Zanzi palm were smaller than any other seed we've grown, and yet the plants were very large, growing trunks much like a tree. The first week of November brought frosts which turned the foliage to spinach, but the plants remain strong, determined to fight it out. Sadly, they won't endure much longer, and the cold will get the best of them.

Definitely a candidate for starting early in the greenhouse, as they require a very long growing season. We are only now seeing large clusters of seed atop the plants, w... read more