The cure for your aches and pains!  Just be careful as to how you use it!



Most of the current adaptations that the castor bean currently has were bred in by scientists looking to produce a better crop.  The vast majority of adaptations were made by humans to result in a higher concentration of oil in the seed.  This was done so that they would yield a significantly larger amount of oil for the same amount of crops.

The most noticeable of all the adaptations that didn't involve oil yield was the variations of seeds that are more adapted to temperate climates.  This enables earlier planting and therefore, earlier crops.  It also allows the castor bean to be planted in non-tropical climates unlike what the original castor beans in Africa and India.

Another noticeable adaptation was the production of the shatter-resistant shell.  This allowed for a single harvest of the seed and resulted in a higher yield.  The shell was known to shatter if it became too dry.  If the shell shattered the seed fell to the ground and was not harvested.

The last adaptation I found wasn’t truly anImage used with permission from Dr. Tom Volk of UW-La Crosse. adaptation of the seed but of the way that they are harvested.  Mechanical harvesting was an excellent human adaptation brought into the castor beans life.  This allowed farmers to have larger fields and thus resulted in larger crops.  The three most common variations are Connor, Doughty 11 and Kentucky 38.  All of these varieties have a growing season of about 180 days, and require about 15 to 20 inches of rainfall.

The image above shows the dry shell of the castor bean plant.  This image was used with permission from Tom Volk of UW-La Crosse.

Want to learn about how humans use the castor plant?  Go on over to Nutrition!

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