Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Castor Bean, Caster Oil Plant, Mole Bean, Higuera Infernal
Ricinus communis 'Impala'

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

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

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

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

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 seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jv123 On Feb 2, 2014, jv123 from Vancouver, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant grows well during the warmer months in Vancouver WA. Luckily, it produces copious amounts of seeds that I can replant the next year, and as long as I plant it in a sunny warm spot, it grows fast enough that it seems like it never got frost killed! I have seed that was collected in July, and a few days ago I planted it in a seed tray with a humidity dome. 2 days later it has sprouted. I can't wait to have more tropical red foliage this year.

Edit May 2nd 2014:
Looks like I didn't need to worry about saving seeds from this castor bean. There are several seeds that have since germinated in my garden, that spent the winter unprotected on top of bark mulch. It is much hardier than I anticipated! I guess I'll be getting volunteer Impalas year after year whether I want them or not...

Positive CurtisJones On Nov 25, 2008, CurtisJones from Longmont, CO wrote:

From your friends at Botanical Interests: Annual (Perennial in zones 8-10). Blooms in summer. 4'-15' tall. Full sun. Fast growing, dramatic, and tropical! Green foliage turns turns into very striking dark bronze foliage with scarlet seed heads (with adequate sunlight). Please note that all parts of this plant are VERY POISONOUS and should be kept away from small kids and pets. Excellent exotic backdrop for the back of the border. Prefers hot humid climates, but can be grown anywhere for a taste of the tropics in your own backyard.


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

El Cajon, California
San Diego, California
Longmont, Colorado
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Chicago, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Shepherdsville, Kentucky
Leakesville, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Eugene, Oregon
Grants Pass, Oregon
Gilberton, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jackson, Tennessee
Westmoreland, Tennessee
Broaddus, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Hereford, Texas
Vancouver, Washington

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