Description: Shrubs or tall herbs, monoecious.
Leaves alternate, deeply palmately lobed.
Flowers in terminal or axillary panicles; upper flowers female, lower male. Perianth segments 3–5. Male flowers with numerous stamens, filaments branched. Female flowers with 3-locular ovary; styles 3, entire or bifid.
Fruit a capsule; seeds with a caruncle. Castor oil is extracted from the seeds.
Distribution and occurrence: World: 1 species, tropical Africa to Asia; naturalized in most tropical countries. Australia: 1 species (naturalized).
Text by T. A. James & G. J. Harden
|One species in NSW: Ricinus communis|