Some of my long time followers may remember these pictures. I posted them quite awhile ago, but now I have an update! These leaves are beautiful, with red veins running through them. My header is the center of a leaf with the sun directly behind it. Even the branches are deep red. And red is appropriate, because this plant is deadly poison. It is the Castor Bean plant, from which the poison Ricin is made. In 2007 it was ranked as the most poisonous plant in the world. It is one of the most feared weapons of mass destruction, because it is common and only takes a little to kill. Only one milligram is fatal to an adult, and one bean will kill a child. Those pretty red spiky pods are the seed capsules, and when they dry, they split apart with great force, you can both hear and see the seeds flying around everywhere. The beans are very pretty, I can see why a child might pick one up and eat it. In some places, these plants are illegal. And so this is where I found this plant last year: in front of the courthouse. It was huge, way taller than either Phil or me. The courthouse employees knew that it was a Castor Bean Plant, but when I informed them about the poison, they had no idea and were rather shocked. So this spring, it is gone. They took the whole plant out and replaced it with some pretty little flowers. I like to think I had something to do with it.
"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts...the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body...it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."