By Sarah Fiorello

red fruit and leaf on plant

Ricinus communis

Castor bean plants were introduced from Africa to South America, the Caribbean, and the Carolinas during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Enslaved Africans and their descendants commonly used castor oil as a laxative and as a general tonic for treating illnesses. The oil has also been applied externally to ease inflammation due to arthritis and rheumatism.

Caution: Seeds contain ricin, a highly toxic substance that is lethal to humans and animals.

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Capsicum annuum ‘Fish Pepper’

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Capsicum frutescens ‘African Bird’s Eye’


Citrullus lanatus