Female (top) and male (below) flowers. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: RG & FJ Richardson, Meredith, Vic

Fruiting bodies and leaves. Photo:  iharley, California, USA

Old fruiting bodies. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: F & K Starr, Hawaii

Plant. Australian Plant Image Index, photo: RCH Shepherd, Fiji

Common Name

Castor Oil Plant




Introduced annual forb or shrub to 4m tall. Leaves with an unpleasant odour when crushed. Leaves alternating up the stems, 10-70cm long, 150-600mm wide, stem attached to about the middle of the leaf, flat, hairless, divided into 7-9 toothed lobes with pointed tips. Male and female flowers on the same plant. Flowers green, with 0 petals and 5 sepals united near the base. Female flowers with red styles. Male flowers with cream to yellow anthers. Flowers in loose 'racemes' at the tops of the stems, female flowers towards the top of the stalk, male flowers lower. Seeds poisonous.

Description and photo in GM Cunningham, WE Mulham, PL Milthorpe and J H Leigh (1981 and later printings) Plants of Western New South Wales page 465

eFloraSA Fact Sheet:

Weeds of Australia Biosecurity Queensland Edition description: