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Mystery Vine (growing in a state park in south florida)- Rosary pea Abrus precatorius -Toxic!

 
Posts: 136
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
forest garden trees rabbit
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While camping at Oscar Scherer State Park last fall, our campsite had a beautiful climbing vine at the end of it. When I pointed it out, everyone in my family said, "Is that a fern?" The leaves were small, wispy, and fernlike. Kind of similar to Hummingbird Vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) but with bean pods. I pointed out that ferns don't grow into vines or make pods... Now that I've said that, someone probably has some kind of odd cycad that does produce pod-like growths.

This particular vine was about 15 feet tall, it climbed from the ground into an oak tree very dramatically. It had 4 or 5 stems which were intertwined (growing up an older vine?) and many, many clumps of pods that looked like this one. I regret not having my camera for a photo of it!

After mysteriously finding one of the pods in my camping gear when we got home... I'm having trouble identifying the beany goodness. It's springtime, it would be a beautiful, probably native, addition to the place, especially if I can germinate it into some hanging baskets. Possibly edible? Possibly edible to rabbits?

I was shocked to open it and find the beans were bright red with black caps (like a cowpea gone over to the darkside, mwa ha ha). I'm leaning more towards potentially poisonous now. I wonder what its flower looked like?!

What do you think this might be?




 
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That's the "rosary pea." Abrus precatorius.

Incidentally, it's one of the most toxic plants known to man. They grow in South Florida, generally along fences.

One seed is reportedly toxic enough to kill a horse. Keep them far, far away from kids.

 
chrissy bauman
Posts: 136
Location: Sunset Zone 27, Florida
forest garden trees rabbit
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man, i am impressed by the size of your plant nerd $#%&. perhaps we will need taro leaves for the all-natural, homemade swimsuits.

i can't believe it's so toxic. how dare it grow right into my campsite! just inches from the picnic table!

i may still grow it though, it does have some conversational value. and it might be able to help with the tree shark problems i have been having.
 
David Good
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"i am impressed by the size of your plant nerd $#%&"

Awwwwwww yeah.

When I was little, I read my way through the biology section of the local library... at some point I found out what these were called.

We actually used to play with them as kids. My siblings and I named them "ladybug eggs."

Much better name. Especially for us Protestant types.
 
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Yea, those are all over the place here in Florida. Many of the seeds will germinate but I wouldn't grow them. My concern is that they degrade over time and I would not want to fuss with the soil were a patch is, Especially with bare hands.
 
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