Caster Oil Plant

Hazard Information

Route: Skin/Ingestion     Plant Part: Primarily the seed

Scale: High

One seed can prove fatal.

Swelling and soreness of the skin if handled.


Common Name(s)

Castor Oil Plant

Latin Name

Ricinus Communis


This is usually grown as a house plant but some varieties are grown outdoors in some areas. It has large deeply lobed mid-green leaves, but some are reddish brown. The flower stems at the top of the plant are green or sometimes pink or red. The mottled seeds are distinctive features of this plant, although not all that common in Britain. 


The seeds (castor beans) are poisonous. Even one has proved fatal.


Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration. If handled swelling and soreness of the skin can occur.

Flowering Period

Summer for garden varieties. House plants rarely flower.


Gardens as focal points in formal flower beds. House plants indoors.