Sunday, May 8, 2011

Raccoononball plant?

Thanks to everyone who wrote in about the Blue Passion Flower (Passiflora caerulea)! What a totally amazing plant. Plant ID could be a regular thing on HaFoSaFo, because while I know there is a lot of good edible wild forage growing in the parkways in our neighborhood, there are some things that are just downright odd. For instance, near a clump of wild fennel, was this arm of spikey balls attached to what looks like Tommy Chong sized giant Marajuana leaves. There is a clump of these guys growing in the vicinity of the former Sunset Landslide.

Anyone got some ideas? I recently pulled my motorcycle over on the side of Chevy Chase in the vicinity of Desconso Gardens just in time to see some critter probably a raccoon, kick one of these fruits down the slope at me. So they can be used as cannonballs, but aside from that... I just don't know.


  1. Is it a monkey ball tree?

  2. You win the prize EV, that is, if I had a prize. Castor Plant it is! Thanks for the ID. One could presumably make Castor Oil from this, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you really know what you are doing. Wikipedia says: The toxicity of raw castor beans due to the presence of ricin is well-known. Although the lethal dose in adults is considered to be 4 to 8 seeds, reports of actual poisoning are relatively rare.[14] According to the 2007 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, THIS PLANT IS THE MOST POISONOUS IN THE WORLD. Yikes. No wonder the raccoon didn't want it.