The Castor Oil Plant ( English) or The WONDER Tree as it is often called is also the source of a deadly naturally occurring POISON. ( Ricin)
Ominously located close to an old medieval period graveyard in the midst of an Arboretum in Sunder Nursery, New Delhi I spotted the Castor Oil Plant growing wild.
The Wonder Tree ( English), Arandi ( Hindi), Ricinus communis ( Scientific name) is native to India and can be seen growing wild alongside highways throughout the country.
It belongs to the Castor family, Euphorbiaceae and thus related to the Spicy Jetropha .( do read my blog A bit of Cuba in India)
The Wonder Tree is a rich source of Castor Oil , once a magical cure for numerous human ailments.
The leaves and roots are also used in the treatment of piles, stem the flow of blood and reduce inflammations.
The Wonder does not end with the medicinal properties, the Plant also sports flowers of two colours on the same Stem.
The red female flowers in the featured image are at the top of the stem and the yellow male flowers below.( see picture that follows) .
The placement ensures that pollen does not accidentally fertilize the flowers on the same stem.
The bell like buds of the male flowers are protected by a canopy of large serrated leaves.
The spiked green fruit will turn brown with maturity and the seeds will be expelled from the lobes.
The seeds or beans are a source of Castor Oil which is even used in Brazil as a Biodiesel.
After extracting the poison Ricin the beans also replace the Cocoa bean to make Chocolate Bars.
Is it not a Wonder that how a plant with one of the deadliest poisons of which even One milligram can be fatal to an Adult Human can be a miracle cure for many ailments as well.