seeds (Ricinus)

Douglas P. Jensen djensen at HOLLINS.EDU
Tue Mar 24 12:48:52 EST 1998

I tried to get Ricinus for one of my classes this semeseter, but no one here
sells them due to the poison.  Apparently ricin, a component of the seed
(don't know which part of the seed) is an important ingredient in rat
poison.  I don't know anything about the nature of the poison(s) in Ricinus.
My guess is that latex gloves would be sufficient protection if the students
are old enough.

If you can get castor beans, they are great for Sudan IV stain (for fats).
The endosperm in young seeds stains very well, but loses the staining
ability as it germinates.  

Also, an FYI, castor beans are not beans (family Fabaceae).  They are in the
family Euphorbiaceae, along with Poinsettia, rubber trees, and manihot.


Douglas P. Jensen
Department of Biology
PO Box 9615
Hollins College
Roanoke, Virginia 24020
djensen at

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