SALIHU Bolaji Z., GANA, Andrew K., APUYOR Benson O.
Abstract: Castor (Ricinus communis L.) is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) which contains a vast number of plants mostly native to the tropics. It belongs to a monotypic genus Ricinus and sub-tribe Ricininae. Castor plants origin is obscured by its wide dissemination in ancient times; and the ease and rapidity of its establishment as a native plant. Castor was one of the oldest cultivated crops before being abandoned in many countries in the world. The crop is now widely revived as an agricultural solution for all tropical and subtropical regions; addressing the need for commercial crops with low input costs and viable returns. Castor is a hardy crop; easy to establish on the field; resistant to drought; tolerate different types of soil even marginal soil and yield 350 900 kg oil per hactare. Castor is an important oilseed crop with great utilitarian value in industry; pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. In the last couple of years; demand for castor oil has kept increasing in the international market; assured by more than 700 uses; ranging from medicine and cosmetics to biodiesel; plastics and lubricants. The oil is critical to many industrial applications; compared with other vegetable oil; because of its unique ability to withstand high and low temperatures. This review was conducted to give; (i) a good botanical description of castor (ii) highlight the castor breeding methods and techniques (iii) outline various common pests; diseases and their treatments (iv) discuss detailed ecology and (v) highlight various local and industrial uses.
Keywords: Castor botany, ecology, industrial uses, castor breeding, pest, disease