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Abrus precatorius

   (Family: Fabaceae)
English: Bead vine, Coral bead plant, Coral bean, Love bean, weather vine  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Climber
Rarity Status:
Preferred rainfall: Summer
Preferred position:
Full Sun
  The plant secretes the toxin called abrin which is closely related to ricin. The symptoms of these toxins are severe stomach pains diarrhoea, nausea, cold sweat, drowsiness, colic and weak and fast pulse.
Flowering time EDIT
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
  Flower info
  Flowers are small and pale violet with a short stalk, arranged in clusters. The ovary has a marginal placentation.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf type
Leaf arrangement
  Leaf info EDIT
  Leaves are glabrous with long internodes and are alternate compound paripinnate with stipules. Each leaf is 50-100 mm long. It bears from 20 to 24 or more leaflets, each of which is about 12-18 mm long, oblong and obtuse. It is blunt at both ends, glabrous on top and slightly hairy below.
Fruit colour
  Seeds per fruit 4
Seed colour
  Seed size Length: 6mm   
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit, which is a pod, is f lat, oblong and truncate-shaped with a sharp, deflexed beak, 30-45 x 12 mm, and silky-textured. The pod curls back when opened to reveal pendulous seeds and contains from 3 to 5 oval-shaped seeds, about 6 mm long. They are usually bright scarlet with a smooth, glossy texture, and a black patch on top.
Description EDIT
A slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges.
It has slender branches and a cylindrical wrinkled stem with a smooth-textured brown bark.
Growing EDIT
Reproduces mainly by seed.
Distribution EDIT
Common plant in Kwazulu-Natal and Limpopo Province and native to many tropical areas of the world.
History EDIT
The seeds of Abrus precatorius are valued in making necklaces for their bright coloration. They are sold in stores and distributed throughout the world by travelers. They are favourite playing toys for children.
Ecology EDIT
The seeds are thought to be mostly bird-dispersed.
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  • By J.M.Garg (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons  


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