A shrub to 1.5 m high by up to 3 metres wide.
It grows many on the western slopes of NSW, with some records on the southern tablelands and the far western plains; south from around Yarrangobilly Caves in Kosciuszko National Park, north through Tumut and then occurring sporadically around Cowra and Orange and west to north-west of Lake Cargelligo. It is very common around Dubbo and north of here into the Pilliga Scrub, between Coonabarabran and Narrabri. It extends north through Warialda and Moree, to over the Queensland border. Records in Queensland are few and sporadic, extending to Eidsvold, north of Injune and south of Charleville.
It typically grows in dry sclerophyll woodland as well as mallee-scrub on rocky ridges and upper slopes, often on sandy soils.
Ricinocarpos spp. have simple and usually alternate leaves with entire margins. In this species, they are narrow and olive-green, to 40 mm long and only 3 mm wide, with recurved margins and with the lower surface paler with dense short hairs.
Ricinocarpos spp. are monoecious – a condition where separate female and male flowers are produced on any individual plant. Flowers are produced in terminal to axillary racemes, or solitarily, and are white in colour, with 4 to 6 petals and sepals. In this species, the flowers have 5 spreading petals and are unisexual; male flowers are produced in terminal clusters of 3 to 6 whilst the female flowers are borne alone or within the male clusters, with each flower about 20 mm across; pink to white in colour; occurring in winter to early summer
The fruit is a globular capsule, to 10 mm long, densely hairy with stellate hairs, which splits open when ripe to release 3 mottled seeds.
A plant that is not overly cultivated but is known to be cultivated successfully and is a very attractive garden plant.
It is a hardy, drought resistant and moderately frost resistant plant well worth growing especially when in flower.
For successful cultivation it requires a sheltered, well drained position in full sun or part shade.
An excellent plant for rockeries and gardens on an upper slope.
Can be propagated from fresh seed (not always reliable) with germination in 4 to 5 weeks, or, from cuttings taken from half ripened current season’s growth which can also be difficult to strike.
Seeds and plants are available commercially. It is advised to use seed which are as fresh as possible.
There are 16 known species of Ricinocarpos – with 15 endemic to Australia and 1 in New Caledonia. NSW currently has 3 recognised species.
The species of this genus likely regenerate from seed in the soil seedbank after fire.
Ricinocarpos – Latin – referring to the genus Ricinus (Castor Oil Plant – the poisonous seeds of which are the source of the deadly Ricin gas); and –carpos (Greek: karpos (καρπός)) meaning ‘fruit’ – capturing the resemblance of the fruit to that of Ricinus. (Note: Ricinocarpos is not known to have poisonous seeds).
bowmanii – after Edward M. Bowman (1826 – 1872), a botanical collector who collected the specimen from which this species was named. He was a nephew of William Macarthur and collected widely in central-eastern Queensland in the 1860s and 1870s, sending his specimens back to Ferdinand von Mueller.
This species is not considered to be at risk of extinction in the wild.
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Ricinocarpos genus page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=gn&name=Ricinocarpos
NSW Flora Online (PlantNET) – Ricinocarpos bowmanii profile page https://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=sp&name=Ricinocarpos~bowmanii
Plants of South eastern New South Wales – Lucidcentral/Online Identification app Ricinocarpos bowmanii profile page https://apps.lucidcentral.org/plants_se_nsw/text/entities/ricinocarpos_bowmanii.htm
Australian National Herbarium – Ricinocarpos bowmanii profile page https://www.anbg.gov.au/gnp/gnp14/ricinocarpos-bowmanii.html
Wrigley, J.W. & Fagg, M.I. (2001). Australian Native Plants – Propagation, cultivation and use in landscaping. 4th edition. New Holland Publishers, Pty. Ltd. Australia.