Saturday, April 2, 2022

Ricinus communis - castor oil plant

Ricinus communis L. (Euphorbiaceae), commonly known as castor oil plant, is a soft wooden small tree developed throughout tropics and warm temperature regions. It is widely cultivated and naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions of America, many temperature areas of Europe, and India.

The plant is reported invasive or weedy in many countries particularly in the tropics and since dense thickets shade out native flora it is able to have negative impacts on biodiversity.

The plants reach about 10 to 13 meters (30 to 40 feet) in height. In temperate climates they are raised as annuals and grow 1.5 to 2.5 meters (4.9 to 8 feet) in a single season. The plant is reported to tolerate annual precipitation of 2.0 to 42.9 dm (mean of 68 cases = 12.7) annual temperature of 7.0 to 27.8°C (mean of 68 cases = 20.4) and pH of 4.5 to 8.3 (mean of 29 cases = 6.5). Grows best where temperatures are rather high throughout the season, but seed may fail to set if it is above 38°C for an extended period.

This fast-growing plant tends to grow straight up at first, developing branches later in the season to form a well-proportioned shrub with sturdy stems and a dense canopy.

The ½ inch long seeds, or “beans” (not true beans), are produced in large numbers where the growing season is long enough (140 to 180 days).

Ricinus communis is cultivated for the seeds which yield a fast-drying, non-yellowing oil, used mainly in industry and medicines. Castor oil is a tasteless and odorless vegetable oil that is extracted by pressing of the seeds of the castor plant. The reported chemical constituents showed the presence of flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, amino acids, terpenoids, phytosterol etc.

The compounds have been reported to exhibit anticonceptive, antidiabetic, antifertility, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, insecticidal and wound-healing activities. They also showed free radical scavenging and Hg scavenging activities, and repellent properties.

Its leaf, root, and seed oil are used in inflammation treatment, liver disorders, hypoglycemic, and as a laxative.
Ricinus communis - castor oil plant

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