Nat. ord., Euphorbiaceae.
Synonym. - Palma Christi.
Castor Oil Plant.
The tree that supplies the seed from which the well-known oil is obtained, reaches a height of 20 to 40 feet, and is found in the East and West Indies, South America, and China.
Characters. - The leaves are large, alternate, palmately lobed, glabrous and shining, on long, tapering, purplish petioles. The flowers are borne in long and erect spikes, the lower portion being occupied by the male flower he upper by the female. They appear in July, the seeds ripen in August and September. The fruit is a roundish, glaucous capsule, with three projecting sides covered with tough spines, and divided into three cells, each containing one seed, which is expelled by the bursting of the capsule. The seeds are about the size of a small bean, oval, shining, of a greyish or ash colour, and spotted.
A notice will be found in Hale's New Remedies.
Part employed. - Though the expressed oil is chiefly in use on account of its purgative properties, the leaves have also been used, and are the officinal part in homoeopathic practice.
Preparations. - Tincture. Fluid extract.