27 November 2023

Drift seed

Although I've collected many drift seeds from our beach at False Bluff, I only recently learned that the seeds I've picked up over the years reside in a category.  They are known as 'drift seeds' or 'sea beans.'  Take your pick but I far prefer the somewhat idyllic sounding 'drift seeds.'  Besides...beans are seeds so WTH.

I've lifted this right from wiki - which I don't like to do - but nowhere else have I found such a simple description of the genre:   "Drift seeds (also sea beans) and drift fruits are seeds and fruits adapted for long-distance dispersal by water. Most are produced by tropical trees, and they can be found on distant beaches after drifting thousands of miles through ocean currents. This method of propagation has helped many species of plant such as the coconut colonize and establish themselves on previously barren islands. Consequently, drift seeds and fruits are of interest to scientists who study these currents.

In botanical terminology, a drift fruit is a kind of diaspore, and drift seeds and fruits are disseminules."

That last sentence is just beautiful even if it did come from wiki.

Not only are drift seeds collected from beaches worldwide but many types of the seeds hit the retail market, primarily for making jewelry.  

This one, the Entada gigas, is all over our beach but I rarely pick one up.  Sadly it seems to be most often called a 'sea heart bean.'   It's sold for about a buck sixty each.  I may have to change my collecting habits:

The seed I like the best is also the most difficult to find.  It's in the Mucuna family of vines with more than a hundred other species.   It is commonly known, sadly, as the 'hamburger bean.'  No two are alike, it's smaller than the sea heart bean, and - at least at False Bluff - it's much more rare...but is by far my favorite: