Abrus precatorius ssp. africanus – Jequirity Bean (seed)
Abrus precatorius, known commonly as Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie Bead is a slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges. It is a legume with long, pinnate-leafleted leaves. It is also known as Gunja in Sanskrit and some Indian languages and Ratti in Hindi. The plant is best known for its seeds, which are used as beads and in percussion instruments, and which are toxic due to the presence of abrin. Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abrus_precatorius.
Heating the seeds above 65 degrees evidently inactivates the poison and they have many medicinal uses in Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves and roots do not contain abrin but instead contain sweet substances called Abrusosides A-D, four novel sweet-tasting triterpene glycosides.
Abrus precatorius subsp. africanus differs from the native Abrus precatorius subsp. precatorius by having larger seed pods with a rough texture. The native subspecies has seed pods 30-50mm long that are relatively smooth. It is also generally more widespread in the northern parts of Australia.
Care and Cultivation of Abrus precatorius ssp. africanus
Abrus precatorius seed coat needs to be nicked to promote germination. Soak seed overnight or plant directly into a good seed raising mix. Plant 0.5 – 1cm under the surface in full sun. Keep moist until germination.
Prefers a loam/gravel soil. Well drained soil, fast growing and hardy. Likes a full sun position and is tolerant of dry conditions once established.
10 seeds per packet. Keep out of reach of children.
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