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63. Kibble Palace Champion
A truly remarkable tree can be seen in a memorable setting next to Glasgow’s magnificent Kibble Palace.
Castor oil trees are rare, and not the source of castor oil, but the leaves of this tree resemble those of Ricinus communis, the true castor oil plant. The Kibble Palace Champion is a splendid curiosity with considerable ornamental properties; to find one as impressive as the Botanic Gardens’ tree is unparalleled. Its splendour is enhanced by its position growing next to one of Glasgow’s architectural gems.
Castor Oil Tree
Where to find it
Castor oil tree notes
With leaves rather like a maple, and flowers and fruits resembling those of ivy, the castor oil tree induces head scratching in many. As a young tree it is clothed in vicious thorns, but these become less fearsome with age, and as individuals mature, they can become splendid feature trees with leaves turning a striking golden colour in the autumn.
As well as being known as the castor oil tree, it has also been called tree aralia, castor aralia or prickly aralia, but it also has indigenous names from its native territories of northern Japan, eastern China and the Korean peninsula. In Korea it is known as eumnamu and its young leaves are considered a delicacy (eumnamu-sun) when blanched and served with peppers or vinegar.