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castor bean

The castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is a plant species of the Euphorbiaceae (the evolution of this plant family is relatively unexplored) the sole member of the genus Ricinus and of the subtribe Ricininae. Its seed is the castor bean which, despite its name, is not a true bean.

Castor seed is the source of castor oil, which has a wide variety of uses. The seeds contain between 40% and 60% oil that is rich in triglycerides, mainly ricinolein. The seed coat contains ricin, a poison, which is also present in lower concentrations throughout the plant.

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