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Varieties of Castor Bean Plants

By Deborah Waltenburg ; Updated September 21, 2017

Castor bean plants, outstanding in the Euphorbiaceae family, are the only species in the genus Ricinus. Native to Africa, castor bean plants, which aren't really beans, are grown as ornamentals that are highly toxic to humans and animals alike. Varieties that grow in tropical climates reach heights of 40 feet or more, while temperate climates varieties are grown as annuals. Castor bean plants sport impressive foliage in an array of colors, small flowers, and seeds intricately painted by nature. All varieties of the Ricinus species is considered invasive in mild climates and is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, The poison ricin is a protein that is extracted from the castor bean. Due to their extreme toxicity, these plants should not be grown when small children are present.


Zanzibar is a large variety, reaching six to 15 feet in height, with leaves that span 2 to 3 feet in width. Bright green foliage is marked with bright white veins and seed pods in assorted colors.


Carmencita castor bean plants sport reddish-green foliage with bright red stems, veins, and pink seed pods. This variety reaches 3 to 4 feet in height, with a spread of 3 feet.

New Zealand Purple

New Zealand Purple, which grows up to 8 feet in height, offers bursts of dark reddish-purple foliage and bluish-purple seed pods.


The Impala variety, reaching 5 feet in height, sports bronze-green leaves and dark red stems. Flowers are yellow, followed by bright scarlet-colored seed pods.


About the Author


Based in Ohio, Deborah Waltenburg has been writing online since 2004, focusing on personal finance, personal and commercial insurance, travel and tourism, home improvement and gardening. Her work has appeared on numerous blogs, industry websites and media websites, including "USA Today."