This image depicts a castor bean, Ricinus communis, still life, composed of two spiny seed pods, and a 12 castor beans scattered about the setting. In the foreground, two of the seeds were still encased inside their protective outer coat. Castor beans contain the water soluble highly-toxic poison known as ricin.
- Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans. If castor beans are chewed and swallowed, the released ricin can cause injury. Ricin can be made from the waste material left over from processing castor beans. - It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water or weak acid. - It is a stable substance under normal conditions, but can be inactivated by heat above 80 degrees centigrade (176 degrees Fahrenheit).