However, in an urban setting, I have to consider the children, and neighbor's pets. Seems that some in my neighborhood care to overlook these concerns:
Q. I want to grow the huge, gorgeous red-leafed plants I’ve seen on my neighbors’ stoops in Brooklyn. But I’ve been told they are ricinus, the plant that was used to assassinate the Bulgarian dissident Georgi I. Markov, back in 1978. Please tell me this is not the same ricinus but only a harmless cousin.The Times response goes on to note "Yet accidental poisonings are rare." I haven't seen seen anyone growing this plant myself, but I would be concerned. It would be easy for the seeds to drop down the steps to the sidewalk. There are dogs I know who eat sticks off the sidewalk. They wouldn't hesitate to snatch up a shiny seed or ten.
A. Ricinus, a k a castor bean, is cousin-free. There is only one species, Ricinus communis. The ricin it contains, primarily in the seed coat, is among the deadliest poisons known. And like many plants in the spurge (Euphorbia) family, it can cause rashes in those who are sensitive to it.
- Poison on the Stoop, New York Times, November 16, 2006
via Brooklyn Record.