Jack the bean stalk climber would not be interested in Ricinus communis but I am. I’ve got a serious chipmunk and vole problem and they do not like the roots of the Castor Bean plant.
Castor Oil comes from the Castor Bean plant but so does ricin one of the strongest poisons on earth. In its natural habitat in tropical zones, it can reach 40 feet for some varieties. Not mine. I will only see about 8-10 feet. It’s not native to my zone 7 garden so no chance of it becoming invasive.
I’m afraid of it a little bit but so are the rodents. They can’t stand to tunnel near the roots. And it’s working cause I’ve not seen as many this season. This is a much less invasive way of dealing with my rodent issue than spraying some toxic mix.
It is keeping this bed rodent free. But don’t go off and plant this so quickly. All parts of it are toxic and the seeds extremely so.
Best not to plant it where kids play, animals frolic, or in public areas. I will handle it with gloves. Really only the bean when processed or ingested is where you get in trouble.
Some processing produces Castor Oil which is a very useful ingredient but other byproducts are ricin which is lethal if swallowed. It causes the body cells not to be able to make proteins. This will cause your cells to burst and then life processes can not be carried forth.
Crimes have been committed using ricin as Amy Stewart wrote about her book Wicked Plants. So I can’t say I wasn’t warned. Amy wrote about quite a few sinister plants including the weed that killed Lincoln’s mother. Don’t you want to know? It might be growing in your garden!