The Chicago Park District has used castor bean plants intermixed with prairie grasses to make a striking entrance to their park building.  With its deeply lobed palmate leaves and a height between 6-10 feet, it’s grand, but don’t eat it!  THIS PLANT’S SEEDS ARE VERY POISONOUS, AND IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO BE GROWN IN A HOME GARDEN WITH PETS AND CHILDREN!

My mom told me a story about her great aunt using castor bean plants to keep her chickens from escaping her fencing.  They “knew” that the seeds made them sick and stayed away from the edge of the fence.  Smart chickens.

Castor oil is used to make biodiesel in Brazil and Ethiopia.  One article I read mentioned that the seeds, although poisonous, made for good objects to sling shot!  Ha.

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