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Botanical description and Economic importance of Ricinus communis

Botanical description and Economic importance of Ricinus communis
Habit : Perennial shrub. Root : Branched tap root system. Stem : Aerial, erect, herbaceaous but woody below, branched and hollow. Young branches are covered with hair like outgrowth. Latex is present.

Botanical description of Ricinus communis

 

Habit

 

Perennial shrub.

 

Root

 

Branched tap root system.

 

Stem

 

Aerial, erect, herbaceaous but woody below, branched and hollow. Young branches are covered with hair like outgrowth. Latex is present.

 

Leaf

 

Petiolate, exstipulate, alternate, deeply palmately lobed with 7 or more lobes. Venation is palmately reticulate divergent.

 

Inflorescence

 

Compound raceme or panicle and terminal. Male flowers are seen below and female flowers near the apex.

 

Male Flower

 

Bracteate, ebracteolate, pedicellate, actinomorphic and incomplete.

 

Perianth

 

Tepals 5, arranged in single whorl, gamophyllous, valvate aestivation and odd tepal is posterior in position.

 

Androecium

 

Stamens many, polyadelphous, filaments branched and united to form five branches. Anthers are dithecous, globose, basifixed, introrse and dehiscing by longitudinal slits.

 

Gynoecium

 

Absent but pistillode is present.

 

Floral Formula

 

Br., Ebrl., x, P(5), Ax, G0.



Female Flower

 

Bracteate, ebracteolate, pedicellate, actinomorphic, incomplete and hypogynous.

 

Perianth

 

Tepals 3 arranged in single whorl and gamophyllous showing valvate aestivation.

 

Androecium

 

Absent but staminode is present.

 

Gynoecium

 

Ovary superior, tricarpellary and syncarpous. Ovary trilocular with one ovule in each locule on axile placentation. Styles 3, deep red and long. Bifid with feathery stigma.

 

Fruit

 

Fruit is called regma. It is covered by spinous outgrowths. The fruit splits into three one seeded cocci.

 

Seed

 

Endospermous.

 

Floral Formula

Br., Ebrl.,x, + , P (3), A 0G (3).

 

ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE

 

1.        Food plants

 

The tuberous root of Manihot esculenta (tapioca) is rich in starch and forms valuable food stuff. The fleshy fruits of Phyllanthus emblica (Gooseberry) are rich in vitamin C. The fruit is edible and pickled.

 

2.        Oil plants

 

Castor oil extracted from the seeds of Ricinus communis (Castor) is used as lubricant, vegetable oil and purgative. Jatropha oil obtained from the seeds of Jatropha curcas (Kattamanakku) is used as purgative, to treat skin diseases and to extract bio-diesel.

 

3.        Medicinal plants

 

The entire shoot system of Phyllanthus amarus (Keezhanelli) is used to treat jaundice. The leaves and roots of Jatropha gossypifolia are used in the treatment of leprosy and snakebite.

 

4.        Rubber plants

 

Over 98% of total natural rubber produced in the world is obtained from the coagulated latex of Hevea brasiliensis (para rubber) and Manihot glaziovii (manicoba rubber).

 

5.        Ornamental plants

 

Euphorbia pulcherrima, Codiaeum variegatum (croton of gardens), E. tirucalli (milk bush) are examples for ornamental plants.

 

 

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