castor bean

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Related to castor-oil plant: castor bean plant, castor bean

castor bean,

bean produced by Ricinus communis, a plant of the spurgespurge
, common name for members of the Euphorbiaceae, a family of herbs, shrubs, and trees of greatly varied structure and almost cosmopolitan distribution, although most species are tropical. In the United States the family is most common in the Southeast.
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 family, widely cultivated as an ornamental. Moles die when they eat the roots. It has long been used as an ordealordeal,
ancient legal custom whereby an accused person was required to perform a test, the outcome of which decided the person's guilt or innocence. By an ordeal, appeal was made to divine authority to decide the guilt or innocence of one accused of a crime or to choose between
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 poison in parts of Africa. Ricin, the toxic protein found in the bean seeds, can be extracted and used as a poison or chemical weapon, but it is not as poisonous or as readily absorbed as other such weapons. Castor oilcastor oil,
yellowish oil obtained from the seed of the castor bean. The oil content of the seeds varies from about 20% to 50%. After the hulls are removed the seeds are cold-pressed.
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 is also extracted from the beans.

castor bean

[′kas·tər ‚bēn]
(botany)
The seed of the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), a coarse, erect annual herb in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) of the order Geraniales.