The Q&A Archives: mystery plant

Question: A friend has a 30 inch plant growing in her yard with a large leaf on reddish stems. It has a small star shaped pinkish flower that developes into a golf ball size, spiney seed pod. Any idea?
Thank you for your time. Jan

Answer: It's almost impossible to positively identify a plant without seeing it, but my educated guess is that it is Ricinus communis, also called the Castor Bean plant. Here's a webpage with several photos - compare it to your plant and if it matches, we've solved the mystery:

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