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Castor Bean, Datura and Brugmansia - Poisonous Beauties

Pretty to look at but beware of the poisonous nature of these two tropical beauties.

Castor beans (Ricinus communis) grow 6 to 10 feet tall and produce large star shaped leaves up to 2 ½ feet across. The spiny red seedpods add to their beauty but the seeds within are very toxic. Remove these or plant them where they can’t be accessed by children.

Castor beans provide vertical interest and a tropical feel to garden borders and containers. Red leafed and shorter varieties are available.

Two groups of plants, Datura and Brugmansia, go by the common name Angel’s Trumpet.  Some are grown as ornamentals while others are considered weeds and even invasive plants in some states. All have fragrant trumpet shaped flowers of white, purple, yellow or apricot and thorny seedpods. All parts of the Angel’s trumpets are highly toxic. Grow them in full sun and well-drained soil.

A bit more information:  Datura and Brugmansia used to be included in the genus Datura. Taxonomists have divided them into two, Datura and Brugmansia. Datura are short lived perennials that reseed and act like annuals in colder climates. They have smaller white, cream or lavender flowers that face upward. Brugmansia are long-lived woody perennials that can reach 20 feet tall in frost-free areas. Their large colorful blooms are downward or slightly outward facing.


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