The Ricinus are up!
Castor Oil: New Zealand Purple Sprouting
Airing Cupboard garden [archived]
They’re stately plants and very colourful :-)
So good to see the airing cupboard is back in garden service!!
The name of the variety caught my eye, Motherhen. Although I’ve lived in NZ for more years than I like to think about, I had never heard of it. To the best of my knowledge it is not native to this country. That is not to say that it wasn’t hybridised here. One thing I did find out here is that the seeds are highly toxic, so obviously should be handled with care and kept well out of the reach of children.
Ricinus used to be very popular as centrepieces for bedding displays here in the UK but, if you notice, they’ve gradually fallen out of favour and aren’t seen so much now. Maybe that’s the reason?
A friend who ‘winters’ on the coast of southern Spain with her husband in their motorhome, brought mystery seeds back last year that she had collected in the wild. She grew two plants and I have one. It has a very strong reddish colouring to the stalk and the leaves are reddish bronze but it is, undeniably, a species of Ricinus. Very pretty but I carefully disposed of all the seedheads at the end of the summer, mindful that they are poisonous and there is no antidote.
Incidentally, Ricin was the poison used to kill the Bulgarian defector Georgi Markov in London in 1978 “He was killed on a London street after a ricin-containing pellet was fired into his leg, most likely by the Bulgarian secret police” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgi_Markov
I bought the seeds from www.jungleseeds.com , so I’m not sure how they were named. :) But I am looking forward to the promise of large purple leaves and stems. I agree, their toxicity it is something to be aware of but to me this is the amazing thing, so many useful molecules hidden in plants!
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