For the past few months, I have been driving past a plant while on the way to work, that for no particular reason caught my attention. Then just a week or so ago, I read on Irit’s blog a post where she used castor bean leaves in one of her prints. The moment I saw the picture, I immediately recalled where I had seen it.
Ricinus communis is Latin for castor bean plant, a tropical plant. The name “Ricinus” means tick in Latin because the surface of the seed has markings and bump that resemble tick (are tiny creatures called parasites that feed on an animal). Castor bean is a fast growing plant with large and glossy palmate leaves measures up to one-three feet across, and reddish stems. The seeds contain a toxic substance known as ricin that may cause acute and fatal death to animal and children when swallowed. A word of caution, *castor bean plants in a garden should not be allowed to flower and seed. A good practice is to “nip it in the bud” (adapted from Cornell University, Dept. of Agriculture and Life Sciences).
I made some experiments on the silk materials that I got from Terriea, a dear friend in Hong Kong. I was amazed with the results of the color and prints from the leaves. This plant is a keeper!
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